Iranian officials informed the United Nations Tuesday their plans to hike uranium production inside the Islamic Republic, telling the International Atomic Energy Agency they will begin to build new centrifuges to expand “uranium enrichment.”
According to the AFP, authorities in Tehran told the IAEA that the expanded production “does not violate” the spirit of the 2015 Iranian Nuclear Agreement; claiming the centrifuges will only be used for energy and peaceful purposes.
“If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz, we can announce the opening of the center for production of new centrifuges” said the Vice President of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization.
The announcement comes as members of the European Union struggle to salvage the international pact just weeks after President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement.
“Iran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian uses only, but opponents in the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia accuse it of seeking to build an atomic bomb,” writes the AFP.
'IT WAS IRAN': Israel Says TEHRAN Behind Gaza Mortar Barrage
Israeli officials publicly blamed Iran for the recent mortar attack on southern Israel Wednesday, saying Tehran was the “culprit” behind the barrage that included 180 Iranian-manufactured shells.
According to the Jerusalem Post, IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis confirmed the mortar shells were produced inside the Islamic Republic and smuggled into the region by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“Despite Israel’s intelligence superiority over terror groups, as well a blockade imposed both by the IDF and Egypt, Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip have restocked their supply of weapons in the four years since the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas,” writes the Post.
“The mass-produced Iranian mortar shells used in Tuesday’s salvos were also used by Islamic Jihad in an attack in January and in a barrage 12 mortar shells fired toward an army outpost in November,” adds the author.
The revelation raises new questions over Iran’s influence in the region as the United States urges western allies and other nations to help clampdown on Tehran’s nuclear program.
A NEW DEAL: US Unveils ’12 Requirements’ for New Iran Agreement
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled the Trump administration’s list of demands for a new Iranian nuclear agreement this week; calling on leaders in Tehran to halt all uranium enrichment and cease its support for terror groups throughout the Middle East.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Pompeo revealed the preconditions during a speaking event in Washington, DC earlier Monday; saying Iran needs to fulfill “12 basic requirements” to reach a new agreement with the United States to ease crippling economic sanctions.
The list includes halting uranium enrichment, severing its ties with militants operating in the region, and walking away from Iranian involvement in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.
“Relief from sanctions will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies,” Mr. Pompeo said. “We acknowledge Iran’s right to defend its people. But not its actions which jeopardize the world’s citizens.”
“These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete,” added the Secretary of State.