Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Tuesday his country would “resume uranium enrichment” at its nuclear facility in Fordow and begin injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges, Iranian media reported.
“Resistance lays the ground for negotiation, and negotiation takes advantage of resistance,” Rouhani said in his announcement.
“We are aware of their sensitiveness toward the Fordo facility and those centrifuges,” the Iranian president said. “At the same time, we cannot tolerate unilateral fulfillment of our commitments and no commitment from their side.”
Under the nuclear agreement, Iran is allowed to maintain 1,044 empty IR-1 centrifuges at Fordow and is banned from enriching uranium or even bringing uranium to the site for 15 years from the start of the accord.
Rouhani’s comments on Tuesday came just a day after Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, announced another acceleration of uranium enrichment with the launch of 30 advanced IR-6 centrifuges.
In his speech on the launch, Salehi appeared to attribute the decision to the US, which pulled out of the nuclear deal last year, and later imposed a series of crippling sanctions on Iran.
“We have to thank our enemies for creating an opportunity for the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in the nuclear technology industry, to show how we could obtain such an achievement...in such a short time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US has said it plans to impose further sanctions on nine people connected to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to “block funds from flowing to a shadow network.”
In a statement, the US treasury department said: “This action seeks to block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world.”
[Sources: Reuters, EuroNews, The Washington Post]