The American secretary of state reacted firmly to the Iranian threat to increase its uranium enrichment capacity.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a one-word message for the Islamic Republic on Thursday after the head of Iran’s atomic agency said it was preparing to create weapons-grade uranium: Don’t.
“We’re watching reports that Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity,” the secretary of state tweeted. “We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran is aware of our resolve.”
The war of words has steadily become more aggressive between the two countries after US President Donald Trump walked away from the 2015 nuclear deal last month, restoring economic sanctions on Iran that will be enforced in the coming months.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters on Tuesday that if the nuclear agreement falls apart, despite the other signatories’ desire for it to continue, the new centrifuges would be ready “in the coming weeks and months.”
Salehi stressed that Iran’s plan to open a new center at their Natanz enrichment site is permitted under the terms of the accord.
The facility already has space for some 50,000 centrifuges, and produces low-enriched uranium that could be used to fuel nuclear power plants. The question therefore, is why they would they need new, improved centrifuges, if not weapons, and Pompeo was clearly addressing that possibility.
The secretary added another message in his short post, this time perhaps aimed at both the people of Iran and its leaders.
“It’s another example of Iran foolishly squandering its resources. It should surprise no one if protests in Iran continue,” he wrote.
It was a not-so-subtle reminder of one of the main reasons for the civil unrest that has been sporadically occurring over the past seven months.