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BEIRUT, Lebanon – Because the United States again has imposed sanctions against several companies and individuals who allegedly evaded U.S. embargoes on trade with Iran, Tehran says it may increase its uranium enrichment goals to the 60 percent level, according to report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
That would be far above the recent interim agreement reached in Geneva between the West and Iran that would limit such enrichment to just five percent.
Less than a week after obtaining an agreement with Iran, new sanctions were announced by the U.S. against a dozen companies and individuals for allegedly violating the embargoes, which were intended to disrupt the Iranian economy enough to bring the regime to an agreement.
Under that announced agreement, which was supposed to be for six months, the U.S. had said it would refrain from adding new sanctions against Iran even though members of Congress have been trying to push the Obama administration that direction.
Iranian lawmakers had warned that Tehran will defy the Geneva deal if the U.S. continues what it termed “breaching the terms of the agreement.”
Now in response to the new U.S. sanctions, Iranian lawmakers are studying a bill which would require the government to enrich uranium to the purity level of 60 percent.
“Given the method that the other negotiating side (the U.S.) has adopted during the nuclear negotiations, the legislators are working on a bill which will require the government to increase the level of uranium enrichment to over 60 percent,” Seyyed Mehdi Moussavinejad, a member of the Iranian Majli, or parliament’s Energy Commission, said in a Fars News report.
Currently, Iran enriches uranium to 20 percent and that is used for medical purposes. The five percent level, which is stated in the agreement, is all that is needed to fuel Iran’s nuclear reactors.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is entitled to enrich uranium to any level.
But under article 4 of the NPT, it is not allowed to create an atomic bomb.
Article 4 refers to a signatory’s “absolute right” to development, which Iran has embraced as a justification to continue its program despite Western sanctions.
Tehran said that it is an economic necessity that it develop nuclear energy, so that is can use its oil reserves for export only.
Israel has objected to any nuclear program in Iran, claiming its purpose is to produce nuclear weapons, which Tehran vehemently denies.
In addition, the United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on four separate occasions relating to Iran’s nuclear program out of concern that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
Nevertheless, Moussavinejad said Iran will look to enrich uranium up to 60 percent to supply nuclear fuel for its ships, including submarines.
However, Iran is not assessed to possess nuclear-fueled ships or submarines.
Last April, Iran had announced that it could start enriching uranium to a 50 percent purity level if its research community determined that it needed it for nuclear-fueled submarines.
The announcement that the Iranian parliament would direct nuclear fuel to be enriched to 60 percent suggests that Iran may have developed such a capability.
Uranium enrichment of 90 percent or better would be needed to fuel a nuclear weapon.
“We have the capability to produce nuclear fuel for ships and submarines,” said Fereidoun Abbasi, former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
While Iran will maintain the 20 percent enrichment level, Abbasi said that the AEOI would have no difficulty developing the systems and technology to produce at the 60 percent level, if it becomes a matter of basic need and the government makes a decision.
“Given the Western states’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which include an embargo on the supply of fossil fuels to Iranian vessels, the Islamic Republic will replace the fossil fuel with nuclear fuel to counter the sanctions so that Iranian ships would not need refueling for long-distance voyages,” according to Allahverdi Dehqani, who is a member of the parliament’s Industries Commission.
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