Iran needs only 5 days to enrich uranium to 20%

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       The increasingly fragile Iran nuclear deal
Iran | The Trump Presidency The increasingly fragile Iran nuclear deal

22 August, 2017

Iran is capable of resuming high-level uranium enrichment operations in five days if there is a "violation" of the nuclear deal with world powers, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organisation has said.

Rouhani, a moderate within Iran's clerically-overseen government, warned last week that it could ramp up its nuclear program and quickly achieve a more advanced level if the US continues "threats and sanctions" against his country.

The US Congress requires the administration's certification (every 90 days) of Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal.

Salehi, in remarks released on Tuesday, pointed to President Hassan Rouhani's recent warnings against Washington's breach of Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and that it is possible for Iran to resume its nuclear program.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on August 15 that Washington was reviewing its policy toward Iran and that it believed the nuclear deal did not put an end to Tehran's other "destabilizing activities" in the region.

The accord, which lifted sanctions on Iran, now caps the Islamic republic's uranium enrichment at 5 percent.

While Iran long has maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, uranium enriched to 20 percent can be further enriched in a matter of weeks to the point where it can be used in nuclear weapons.

Iran processed its stockpile of near 20-percent uranium into a lower enrichment, turned some into fuel plates to power a research reactor and shipped the rest to Russian Federation as part of the deal.

Ali Akbar Salehi, one of Iran's vice presidents, made the comments on state TV in apparent reaction to increased sanctions imposed by America this month.

"The EU, China and Russian Federation prefer much more pragmatism in handling matters ranging from Iran to North Korea", he added.

US and United Nations watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have found Iran has adhered to the deal.

"Her point is to try to go, and to not just hear from them but to also re-communicate the USA concerns about Iran's intentions", our correspondent said.

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