On April 13th, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has called Tehran’s decision to enrich uranium up to 60% after saboteurs attacked a nuclear site a necessary response.
He called it “an answer to your evilness,” linking the incident to ongoing talks in Vienna over the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Israel is suspected of carrying out this weekend’s assault at the Natanz nuclear facility.
The escalation in enrichment could see further retaliation as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed never to allow Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Israel has twice preemptively bombed Mideast nations to stop their atomic programs.
Speaking to his Cabinet President Hassan Rouhani said the damaged first-generation IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz would be replaced by advanced IR-6 centrifuges that enrich uranium much faster.
“You wanted to make our hands empty during the talks but our hands are full,” Rouhani said.
He added: “60 per cent enrichment is an answer to your evilness. … We cut off both of your hands; one with IR-6 centrifuges and another one with 60 per cent.”
This plan also includes adding another 1,000 “more-advanced” centrifuges at Natanz.
There were suggestions it would begin as early as April 14th, but a tweet from Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharibadadi, suggested it might come later.
Enriching UF6 up to 60% will be done in two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges in Natanz. Modification of the process just started and we expect to accumulate the product next week. This will improve significantly both the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical products.
— Gharibabadi (@Gharibabadi) April 13, 2021
He wrote the enrichment would be handled by only two cascades of IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges at Natanz. A cascade is a group of centrifuges working together to enrich uranium more quickly.
The talks in Vienna are aimed at reviving America’s role in that agreement, which former President Donald Trump abandoned, and lifting the sanctions he imposed. Rouhani in his comments Wednesday insisted Iran still seeks a negotiated settlement in Vienna over its program.
“The U.S. should return to the same conditions of 2015 when we signed the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said.
Separately, there have been reports suggesting that an Iranian response against Israel had taken place.
Pro-Iranian media reported that there had been an attack by “unknown forces” against a Mossad facility and there were Israelis killed in northern Iraq.
The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) denied the reports.
“We can confirm that news reports about an attack on an Israeli intelligence facility in the region are false,” the KRG statement said.
The KRG added that no Mossad base exists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The reports emerged amid spiraling tensions with Iran, including at sea. In the third attack of its kind in months, the Israeli ship MV Hyperion Ray, which sails under the Bahamas flag, reportedly came under missile fire on April 13th near the emirate of Fujairah on the coast of the Gulf of Oman.
The New York Times cited an Israeli security official saying no retaliatory attack was planned on an Iranian vessel since the Jewish state wants to deescalate the situation in the Persian Gulf.
Hebrew media said the missile strike caused no injuries and very minor damage. The ship was en route to the UAE from Kuwait, according to Channel 12 news.
A spokesperson for the Hyperion Ray said there was no damage and the ship continued on its route.
MORE ON THE TOPIC: