Iran: We need only 5 days to restart nuclear program

AEOI head Salehi warned that Iran could return to producing nuclear-bomb grade material within five days.  

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), warned Tuesday that the Islamic Republic would need only five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment to 20 percent, a level at which the material could be used for a nuclear weapon.

“If there is a plan for a reaction and a challenge, we will definitely surprise them,” Salehi, who also serves as one of Rouhani’s vice presidents, stated on Iranian state television. “If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent-enrichment in at most five days.”

“Definitely, we are not interested in such a thing happening. We have not achieved the deal easily to let it go easily. We are committed to the deal and we are loyal to it,” he asserted.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a direct threat to the West last week, claiming his country is capable of restarting its nuclear program within hours — and quickly bringing it to even more advanced levels than in 2015, when Iran signed the nuclear deal with world powers.

Rouhani’s remarks to lawmakers follow the Iranian parliament’s move earlier to increase spending on the country’s ballistic missile program and the foreign operations of its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

Salehi has issued similar threats in the past.

Iran gave up the majority of its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium as part of the nuclear deal. The accord, which lifted sanctions on Iran, currently caps the Islamic Republic uranium enrichment at 5 percent.

While Iran long has maintained its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, uranium enriched to 20 percent and above could be used in nuclear bombs. 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 Russia as part of the deal.

The Obama administration and most independent experts said at the time of the deal that Iran would need at least a year after abandoning the deal to have enough nuclear material to build a bomb. Before the deal was struck, they said the timeframe for Iran to “break out” toward a bomb was a couple of months.

Iran’s abandoning of the deal would put any economic gains made in wake of the deal in jeopardy.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff