By Lea Speyer
Iranian officials issued new threats against the West on Wednesday, warning that failure to uphold the nuclear deal will result in harsh consequences, Iranian state media reported.
In an address to the country’s parliament — the Majlis — Speaker Ali Larijani called on the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to prepare plans to build a nuclear plant with the express purpose of enriching uranium, the semi-official state news agency Fars reported.
According to Larijani, “disruptive moves” by the UN and the US, coupled with what he claimed to be America’s disloyalty to the year-old Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are sufficient cause for Tehran to take defiant measures.
Also on Wednesday, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced that Iran will hold various war games across the country, which will last through the end of the year, Fars reported. The war games are intended to flex Iran’s military muscles and test its advanced missile systems, the IRGC commander said.
“This year, we have so many exercises that I can’t remember their exact number,” Jafari said. “God willing, these drills will be staged to enhance readiness for burying the enemy in the Persian Gulf waters and annihilating them on the Iranian soil.”
Jafari’s comments echo similar remarks made by the commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh in May, who warned that Iran will hold more exercises should the US meddle in its affairs.
“We will not cancel any drills and will improve them and make them more frequent,” he said.
In March, the IRGC carried out a ballistic-missile exercise, launching missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload. The move was widely condemned and seen as a violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which implements the JCPOA. Western officials claimed that the launch did not violate the core terms of the nuclear deal.
The uptick in threatening rhetoric from Iran comes amid an explosive report this week by the Associated Press, which exposed the existence of a secret JCPOA side agreement that would begin easing nuclear restrictions on Iran before the deal reaches its 15-year expiration. According to the report:
As of January 2027 — 11 years after the deal was implemented — Iran can start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines. From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran can install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using. Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency…Because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.
As reported by The Algemeiner, Iran announced this month that the country’s nuclear experts have already begun testing a new generation of centrifuges, which are reportedly 15 times more powerful than the ones already in its possession.
The US State Department has denied the existence of any “secret document or secret deal.”
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal