Iran announces it will accelerate uranium enrichment – Netanyahu: We will not allow Iran to go nuclear

Iran has informed the UN nuclear watchdog of “tentative” plans to produce the feedstock for centrifuges, the machines that enrich uranium, the agency said on Tuesday after Iran said it was preparing to increase its enrichment capacity.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Monday he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if its nuclear deal fell apart after US President Donald Trump announced his country’s withdrawal last month.

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European powers are scrambling to salvage the deal, which imposes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting sanctions.

Ali Akbar Salehi, vice president and head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, stated that a letter had been given to the IAEA about the increase, and stated bluntly, “If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz, we can announce the opening of the center for production of new centrifuges” for uranium enrichment, adding, “What we are doing does not violate the (2015 nuclear) agreement.”

Salehi claimed that Iran’s action “does not mean that we will start assembling the centrifuges,” adding that the uranium enrichment plans “do not mean the negotiations (with Europe) have failed.”

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to the news in a short Hebrew-language video.

“The day before yesterday Ayatollah Khamenei, the ruler of Iran, declared his intention to destroy the State of Israel.

“Yesterday he explained how he would do this – with the unrestricted enrichment of uranium in order to produce an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

“We are not surprised. We will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons”.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz responded to the news stating:

“If the Iranians don’t surrender now, and try to return” to unsupervised uranium enrichment, “there should be a clear statement by the President of the United States and all of the Western coalition” that “if the Iranians return” to enriching uranium giving them the capacity to build a nuclear bomb, “a military coalition will be formed against them.”