Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), made the comment at an extraordinary press conference in Tehran where he elaborated on the organization’s upcoming plans and measures in the nuclear domain.
He said Iran has been ready for all scenarios regarding the JCPOA, including the other signatories’ failure to meet their commitments under the deal. To that end, he said, Iran has prepared vast infrastructure that would enable the country to achieve a nuclear capability higher than what it was before the nuclear deal was signed.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the AEOI chief made it clear that sanctions and the implementation of the JCPOA are mutually exclusive.
He also reiterated that Iran will live up to its obligations under the JCPOA.
“We at the AEOI have always paid due regard to this principle. Before the JCPOA was signed, we fulfilled the provisions of the Safeguards Agreement (of the International Atomic Energy Agency), and afterwards, the Additional Protocol and JCPOA commitments were added [to Tehran’s obligations],” said Salehi.
He further underscored that Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful as instructed in a religious decree by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
“We have never deviated from this principle, and will never do so,” he said.
The Iranian nuclear chief then touched upon the AEOI’s objective of producing nuclear energy.
“Another principle is that the organization pursues two key objectives: providing nuclear power and supplying fuel to nuclear power stations,” he said.
Meanwhile, he underlined that nuclear knowhow is a dual-purpose technology.
“In the court of public opinion, nuclear technology has the capacity to be used for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes, but the West is trying to turn this technology into a weak point for us,” he said.
Salehi underlined that the possession of nuclear technology by any country means that the country enjoys high industrial standards.
“That is why they try to create the impression that Iran does not need nuclear energy as it is an oil-rich country,” said Salehi.
He further said the infrastructure has been prepared to ramp up the uranium enrichment capacity at Natanz nuclear facility to 190,000 separate work units (SWUs) as instructed by Ayatollah Khamenei yesterday.
However, Salehi underscored that Iran’s plans and measures are all within the framework of the JCPOA.
Salehi’s comments came after the Leader on Monday ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to immediately start preparations – “for now” within the JCPOA – for increasing Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity to 190,000 SWU as of tomorrow.