Iran has followed through on its threat to accelerate its production of enriched uranium. After Washington‘s decision to withdraw from the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Tehran, which consequently lead to the reinstating of a series of international sanctions from the start of May; the Ayatollah regime has responded with a threat to increase its uranium enrichment, while underlining that it was up to Europe – who still supports the nuclear deal – to salvage it by finding ways to ensure the Islamic Republic receives the economic benefits it was promised.
While the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is mandated with monitoring Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, did not receive any official notice from Tehran about its some-what vague intensions; the atomic agency’s Director General acknowledged ‘an increase in Iran’s uranium production rate.’
Following his opening remarks at a week-long meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors which TV7 reported on yesterday, Amano noted that although Iran was now producing more enriched uranium than before, it remains unclear when it might reach stockpile limits that were set under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – which is the technical term of the nuclear pact. When asked by a reporter if “Since then has Iran made good on any of its announcements in terms of increasing its production of uranium?” Amano said: “Yes, production rate is increasing.”/ “The pace of the production fluctuates but production is one thing, they can use it for dilution and for R&D (research and development), so we cannot tell when it comes to the ceiling.”
Meanwhile in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif refused to answer a question regarding his country’s nuclear ambitions and the vocal aspirations by the Islamic Republic’s leadership to annihilate the Jewish State. Instead, Zarif attempted to divert attention toward Israel’s alleged nuclear capabilities.
The Iranian top diplomat referred to earlier remarks that were made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – even though factually inaccurate – in which the Israeli leader vowed to confront Iran’s regional ambitions. Zarif said: “You must ask this question of a regime that possesses nuclear weapons. Mr. Netanyahu stands before the Dimona nuclear facility, which is the center of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and says that we will destroy Iran. It is he who should answer this question.”
Minister Zarif also took the opportunity to insist Iran’s proactive reluctance from initiating a war, amid persisting tensions with the United States and its regional allies. Nevertheless, ‘if war is forced upon the Islamic Republic’ – Zarif emphasized – ‘it will deal the final blow.’ He added that: “We have never started a war and will never do so.” / “But whoever starts a war with us will not be the one to finish it.”
The comments by the Iranian top diplomat were made during yesterday’s joint-press conference alongside his visiting German counterpart, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is the most senior Western leader to visit Tehran since the United States withdrew from the multilateral nuclear agreement.
In the face of Zarif’s hostile rhetoric against the Jewish State, Minister Maas re-emphasized Germany’s non-negotiable friendship and perceived responsibility toward Israel and its people. “To the question on Israel – Germany’s position, responsibility and close friendship with Israel is known. Israel’s right to exist belongs to Germany’s ‘reason of state’ and is totally non-negotiable for us. This is a result of our history and it is steadfast and my presence in Tehran changes absolutely nothing on this,” the German Foreign Minister said.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the remarks that were made by Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif; accusing him of blatantly lying. The Israeli leader referred to Tehran’s repeated threats to destroy the Jewish State, while pointing to its resumed activities for the purpose of accomplishing its declared goal. According to Netanyahu: “Zarif is lying again. Iran is the one that openly threatens, every day, to destroy the State of Israel. Iran continues to entrench itself militarily in Syria. And today, the IAEA reports that Iran is accelerating its nuclear program. I repeat: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence and endanger the entire world.”