By R. Blum
Iran’s atomic energy chief rejected rumors that the country’s nuclear activity is waning, and announced plans for a serious boost, the regime aligned news outlet Tasnim reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, AEOI head Ali Akbar Salehi told a gathering in Tehran of members of the Iranian foreign policy NGO the Professional Center for Journalism, “With all my scientific, technological and administrative experience in the nuclear field for some 50 years, I insist that the nuclear industry has not been shut down and the work is going on.”
To illustrate, Salehi said that President Hassan Rouhani’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Baku yesterday included a discussion of the construction of two new nuclear power plants. He said that once the $10 billion project is formally approved by both leaders, it will cause a “tsunami” in Iran’s nuclear industry.
As The Algemeiner reported, last month, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said that Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called on Salehi to draw up plans for a nuclear plant whose express purpose was to enrich uranium.
Simultaneously, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, announced that Iran would hold various war games across the country until the end of the year. The war games, Jafari said, are intended to flex Iran’s military muscles and test its advanced missile systems.
In March, the IRGC carried out a military exercise, launching ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload. The move was seen as a violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which implements the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, signed with world powers in July 2015.
As The Algemeiner reported, the uptick in threatening rhetoric from Iran came as the Associated Press exposed the existence of a secret JCPOA side agreement according to which nuclear restrictions on Iran would be lifted 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.
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the JCPOA, Iran announced that its nuclear experts had begun testing a new generation of centrifuges, reportedly 15 times more powerful than the ones already in its possession.
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal