Iran has retained its weapons-grade nuclear capabilities and even improved them, says Iranian official Behrouz Kamalvandi.
By: World Israel News Staff
A senior Iranian official stated that his country has the capability to resume the enrichment of nuclear-weapons-grade uranium, bringing into the question the effectiveness of the controversial 2015 nuclear deal.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said the Islamic Republic is capable of reviving its 20-percent uranium enrichment capability in less than two days if the nuclear deal is discarded by the US.
“Not only can we return to the past situation, but we can also return to a situation much better than the past. If we want to enrich uranium to the 20 percent level, we can do it in less than 48 hours. We can increase the speed of enrichment given the new machines that we use,” Kamalvandi was quoted as saying by the Arabic-language al-Alam news website on Monday.
He explained that Iran has developed IR8 centrifuge machines with a power 24-folded of its previous counterpart.
“Therefore, we can develop a situation which is much better than the past and they [the world powers] know the meaning of this word,” Kamalvandi said.
Uranium can be enriched to levels ranging from reactor fuel or medical and research purposes to the core of an atomic bomb. Iran claims it has no interest in such weapons and that its activities are being closely monitored under the nuclear pact to make sure they remain peaceful.
The low-enriched uranium is suitable mainly for generating nuclear power and requires substantial further enrichment for use in the core of a nuclear warhead.
At 20 percent enrichment, the U-235 isotope has already traveled 90 percent of the distance required to reach weapons grade.
Iran has previously warned of its ability to restore its uranium enrichment operations if the nuclear deal with the world powers fails as a result of US non-compliance with its undertakings.
Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi also said in August that Iran can resume uranium enrichment within five days.
“We don’t have any problems technically. We were moving normally in the past, but if we want to soar up, we can go up the ladder,” Kamalvandi said in July.
Addressing Washington specifically, Kamalvandi warned members of the P5+1 – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany – to remain committed to the nuclear deal or “face Iran’s reciprocation and resumption of its nuclear program development.”