The nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers intended to increase the time it would take Iran to develop nuclear weapons if they ever chose to “break out” and move full speed towards nukes. There are many steps in that process, but a key step is developing the nuclear fuel for the bomb. And getting their nuclear fuel creation back to where they were before the nuclear deal would only take Iran four days.
That’s the threat from the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, who warned on Saturday they could rapidly restore their nuclear fuel enrichment back to their previously known top level of research-grade at 20 percent—weapons-grade is 90 percent—if the global powers dropped the nuclear deal. And that’s not all Iran could do.
Salehi, whose comments were published by the Fars News Agency, further said without providing details that Iran has other means to respond to the United States if they were to back out of the deal as President Donald Trump has threatened. Salehi said Iran is “prepared to move like an army” and hinted that American allies—perhaps including Israel—could also be targeted by Iran. “We hope that the other side makes a wise decision and avoids moves that would trouble them and others as well,” Salehi said.
A day before Salehi’s comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday made it clear that his country was ready for whatever Iran tried to throw at them. “We hear the threats from Iran. The fighters of the IDF and the security services are prepared for any development,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “We will fight against whoever tries to harm us. We will not be deterred by the cost and we will exact a price from those who seek our lives. The IDF is up to the task, and the people will endure.”
The back and forth rhetoric comes as Trump’s deadline for the Europeans to develop a supplemental agreement to enhance the Iran nuclear pact is just weeks away. Trump has made it clear he will not continue to dismiss sanctions on Iran alleviated under the deal if the agreement is not changed, which would effectively dismantle the accord.
In response, Salehi isn’t the only Iranian official warning of Iranian nuclear fuel enrichment if the nuclear deal with the world powers collapses. Fars reported that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was “probable” that they would resort to enriching nuclear fuel again in that scenario.
While Trump is seeking additional safeguards from the Europeans to prevent Iran from threatening the region, Zarif urged the Europeans to hold the US to the nuclear deal and claimed that the US “never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear bomb.” He reiterated that sentiment on Sunday in an interview with CBS and said he did not think Iran and Israel were moving towards a “regional war.”
But while Zarif can sound “moderate” in his words, Netanyahu said on Sunday that there is a clear disconnect between Iran’s diplomatic speech and their actions.
“There is a tremendous gap between [Zarif’s] words and the actions of the Revolutionary Guards which are moving an army against Israel with the avowed goal of destroying the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office.
Commenting on Zarif, Netanyahu noted he is “the foreign minister of a country that sends armed UAVs against Israel and missiles at Saudi Arabia.” Netanyahu further warned that the IDF “are prepared for any possibility and any scenario.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 22, 2018)