Netanyahu: 'We are not surprised' by inflammatory Khamenei remarks

Iran also announced Tuesday that it has begun work on infrastructure to build advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
June 5, 2018 13:43
2 minute read.

Iran's Khamenei says Iran set to boost enrichment capacity if nuclear deal falls apart, June 4, 2018 (Reuters)

Iran's Khamenei says Iran set to boost enrichment capacity if nuclear deal falls apart, June 4, 2018 (Reuters)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "isn't surprised" about Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's threat to destroy Israel and continue to enrich uranium, he said Tuesday in a video statement from Paris.

"Yesterday Ayatollah Khamenei, the ruler of Iran, declared that his intention was to destroy the State of Israel, and yesterday he explained how he would do it - with an unlimited enrichment of uranium to produce an arsenal of nuclear bombs ... We are not surprised," he said.

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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also slammed Khamenei's declaration that he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity Monday, according Hebrew media.

"Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's declaration is a sign of hysteria and mass panic in the Iranian leadership." Liberman said Tuesday at a conference of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Eilat.

Iran also announced Tuesday that it has begun work on infrastructure to build advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility, but will adhere to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi said.

According to a spokesman for Iran's nuclear agency, Tehran will inform the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Tuesday that it had started the process to increase uranium enrichment capacity.

The decision by the United States to withdraw from the nuclear agreement has cast doubt on whether the remaining signatories will be able to preserve the deal.



The developing of infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at the Natanz facility is moving along quickly, Salehi said in a news conference broadcast on state television.

"If we were progressing normally, it would have taken six or seven years, but this will now be ready in the coming weeks and months," Salehi said.

Iran has also developed the capacity to produce electricity at Natanz, Salehi said, a site which lies around 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Tehran.

Salehi said none of Iran's nuclear activities would violate Tehran's landmark deal with world powers, under which it strictly limited uranium enrichment capacity to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs.

In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were rescinded in January 2016.

The deal allows Iran to continue 3.67 percent uranium enrichment, far below the roughly 90 percent threshold of weapons-grade. Before the deal was reached, Tehran enriched uranium to up to 20 percent purity.

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