Thursday, February 29, 2024

Iran’s nuclear chief: Gas feeding into centrifuges response to US sanctions

Iran’s nuclear chief says the recent move to start feeding uranium gas into hundreds of the country’s new advanced centrifuges was a response to a new round of American sanctions, pledging that the Islamic Republic does not hesitate to take any measure that serves its national interests.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the Americans have repeatedly confessed to the failure of their so-called maximum pressure policy against Iran, but they still keep resorting to the same pressure tactics.

While the Americans have no hope for their “maximum pressure” policy to bear fruit, “we continue to witness a duplicitous attitude on the part of Americans and the [same] empty accusations that they have been leveling [against Iran’s nuclear program] over the past 20 years,” said Eslami.

He said in signing the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to restrictions on its peaceful nuclear work and to the close monitoring of its atomic activities in order to make the Americans set aside these accusations and, consequently, secure a removal of the sanctions the US has imposed on Iran under those pretexts.

“But unfortunately, they (the Americans) did not honor their obligations. They keep inventing new excuses on a daily basis and repeat the accusations in an exaggerated manner,” he said.

Eslami reaffirmed that Iran’s nuclear activities have always remained within the framework of the Safeguard Agreement and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Iran, he added, started injecting uranium gas into its new advanced centrifuges to “show the Americans that Iran has an iron will [to secure] a removal of the sanctions, and that it does not back down from any measure that serves the Iranian nation’s interests.”

The uranium gas injection process was part of ‘the Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Nation’s Rights,’ a law passed by the Iranian Parliament in 2020 to counter the sanctions.

The Iranian nuclear chief also pointed to the removal of more than two dozen surveillance cameras from Iran’s nuclear facilities, of which the International Atomic Energy Agency was informed, saying the installation of the cameras had originally taken place as a measure beyond the Safeguards Agreement and as part of the nuclear deal, which the US abandoned in 2018.

When the other parties to the nuclear deal failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, “there is no reason for us to keep fulfilling our commitments,” Eslami said. “We announce today as well that no cameras will be installed as long as they fail to return to their commitments and set aside their claims.”

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