At the National Atomic Energy Day event in Tehran on Monday, President Hassan Rouhani, who was accompanied by his nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, stated, “I want to clearly say to the Iranian nation that our nuclear industry is moving faster than before with more energy, accuracy and more exact calculation.”
Mehr news agency quoted Iran’s president as saying that Iran needs “both hard and soft power” while pursuing “constructive engagement” with the world. He also said Iran is committed to, and will not be the first to violate, the the nuclear deal it signed with world powers, although “other parties” to the deal are “instigating Iran” to break its commitment to the agreement.
Iran promised to scale back its nuclear enrichment and give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons under the 2015 agreement, which continued to allow for development of nuclear technology for energy production and scientific research. Rouhani unveiled the latest in nuclear technological developments, including developing centrifuges, separation, and nuclear medicine on Monday.
According to IRNA, Iran’s state news agency, 83 nuclear technology-related achievements were unveiled during the event that day.”The achievements unveiled today sent a clear message to some of our friends who speak carelessly,” said Rouhani.
Previously on Sunday, Salehi was quoted as saying that Tehran could escalate its uranium enrichment at the Fordow nuclear plant, in just four days, if the US withdraws from the deal. “If we receive an order from the establishment’s senior officials to resume uranium enrichment to 20 percent, we only need four days to ramp up 20 percent enrichment at Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant,” he said.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), clarified on Monday that it would only take “two days” to accomplish enrichment. Uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent is considered above the requirement for nuclear energy production, but still well below the 80 to 90 percent required for a nuclear weapon.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists provided analysis concluding that uranium enriched to 20 percent is “likely intended” to gain political leverage, rather than to “leap toward a nuclear weapons capability.”
During negotiations for the nuclear deal, according to Salehi, Iran considered several scenarios, including the possibility of the other parties violating the deal. He said
“preparations have already been made” without giving more details, and added, “Our ability for reversal in other areas will be far greater than before. We are hoping that there will be no need for that, but if there is, it will be a scientific challenge.”
In January, US President Trump announced that it was the “last time” he would waive US sanctions against Iran. He said that if his demands are not met within 120 days, the US will withdraw from the deal. The deadline is on May 12, 2018. Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the nuclear deal.