Iran to restart uranium capacity building process, says country's nuclear agency

Olivier Matthys

IAEA head calls for 'timely' cooperation from Iran

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday that he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after the United States withdrawal from it last month.

But she also urged the UN's nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carefully examine recent material submitted by Israel, allegedly on Iran's secret program.

Spinning centrifuges convert the gases into enriched uranium that can be used for reactor fuel and medical isotopes. The UF6 is a feedstock for centrifuges.

"Our enemies will never be able to halt our nuclear progress.It is their bad dream and will not happen", Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech.

He appeared to be hardening a threat to restore Iran's disputed enrichment drive first made after Trump quit the nuclear deal. Iran has repeatedly denied seeking a nuclear weapon from enrichment.

But she acknowledged that a supplementary deal with Tehran covering its ballistic missile programme as well as its interventions in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen was needed.

Iran's Shahab 3 missiles can reportedly travel 2,000 kilometers and potentially reach southern Europe, with Iran saying the range may be increased if its security is jeopardized.

"We all know the Europeans are our friends and we love them to death, but they're not really good at leading and world issues", Kinzinger said.

"The aim to prevent Iran from developing any kind of nuclear capacity was always the foundation of worldwide policy on Iran", Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, told AFP ahead of the visit.

In exchange, the country received relief from crippling sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call to eject Iran from Syria, but disagreed with the Israeli premier's contentions regarding the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

All three countries have vowed to try to salvage the hard-fought accord since President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from it last month.

Tehran has complained that it has not benefited financially from the deal even before Trump's decision to withdraw.

"From some European countries we get the message that they expect the Iranian people to both tolerate the sanctions, deal with the sanctions, and go along with them and give up our nuclear energy activities and continue with the restrictions", he told an audience in a Tehran suburb.

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