Iran adding 1,000 centrifuges to boost uranium enrichment

Iranian officials brushed off Western criticism of Iran’s violations, saying Iran would not respond to pressure.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The head of the Iran’s Atomic energy agency said Tuesday an additional 1,000 more centrifuge are being added to boost the amount of enriched uranium the country is producing in violation of international agreements.

“One thousand centrifuges are being installed inside the country,” Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) told Iran’s Fars News agency. “Until three or four years ago, we used to produce an average of 4 to 5 tons of yellowcake, but for the past two years, we have increased the production of yellowcake to 30 tons.”

“Iran has produced 20% enriched uranium in 24 hours,” Salehi said after Iran announced on the weekend it was breaking restrictions and producing far above its agreed-to limits under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “This year, the production of yellowcake will be between 35 and 40 tons, which means that we have 8-folded the production of yellowcake.”

Iran claims the enrichment is for “peaceful” purposes, but with no major nuclear power plants and sitting on some of the world’s largest reserves of fossil fuels, the Iranian nuclear program is widely perceived to be for the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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A spokesman for the EU said there was concern, but did not outline any action the Europeans would take in response.

“We are highly concerned by the measures taken by Iran. This action is in breach of Iran’s nuclear commitments and will have serious implications,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told reporters at a briefing Tuesday.

In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced additional sanctions against 17 Iranian metal companies in a continuing American policy of responding to Iranian violations by adding extra pressure on the Iranians.

“The United States will continue to aggressively implement sanctions with respect to the Iranian regime, those who evade sanctions, and others who enable the regime to fund and carry out its malign agenda of repression and terror,” Pompeo said in a statement released by the State Department.

Iranian officials brushed off Western criticism of Iran’s violations, saying Iran would not respond to pressure.

“Westerners are suffering from a delusion and think that due to pressures imposed on the country by U.S. sanctions in the past years, the Islamic Republic is ready and will quickly embrace America’s return to the deal and so they can set conditions for the lifting of the sanctions,” said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. “This is a completely wrong and delusional understanding,” He added.