His representative State Department, Ned Price said today that the statements of his supreme leader Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for uranium enrichment “Sounds like a threat” and refused to respond to what he described as “assumptions” and “gestures of impression”.
Price reiterated the US willingness to engage in talks with Iran on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
Khamenei said earlier today that Tehran could enrich uranium with a purity of up to 60% if the country needed it, stressing that the Islamic Republic would never back down from US pressure on its nuclear activities.
At the same time, Iran will stop from tonight on implementation of the Additional Protocol which allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct unannounced inspections at sites that have not been declared nuclear facilities by Tehran, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
The Khamenei statements
Iran can enrich uranium with up to 60% purity if needed, Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a new gesture of contempt for the West.
“Iran’s uranium enrichment limit will not be 20%. We will act according to our needs (…) We can increase the enrichment to 60% “, he said, according to an announcement published on his official website.
The Khamenei statement comes on the eve of the entry into force of a law aimed at limiting Tehran’s ability to inspect its nuclear activities amid ongoing US sanctions.
Iranian law requires Iranian government to restrict access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of non-nuclear facilities, including military bases, unless the United States lifts sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic in 2018 after the unilateral withdrawal of Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal.
In early January, under the same law, the government resumed uranium enrichment activities to 20%.
The government “has not abandoned its commitments and is gradually reducing some of them, which are still reversible in the event that (other countries participating in the agreement) take on their responsibilities again,” Khamenei said. “Westerners know very well that we do not seek (to build) nuclear weapons.”
Increasing uranium enrichment to 60% will bring the Islamic Republic closer to the 90% required to build an atomic bomb. Tehran has consistently denied that it is seeking nuclear weapons.
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