Regime Nuclear Chief Says Iran Plans to Expand Nuclear Program
On Tuesday, the Iranian regime’s nuclear chief made a shocking statement in an interview on the Face to Face television show. Ali Akbar Salehi said outright that the Iranian regime would continue activities at its heavy water plant in Arak, transfer 30 tons of yellowcake uranium to its conversion facility in Natanz, and build two new nuclear power reactors in Bushehr Province. This is despite Iran’s continued participation in the 2015 nuclear deal.
— Tony Duheaume (@TonyDuheaume) April 30, 2015
According to Salehi, Iran can do this because the nuclear deal has a number of technical flaws that the regime can exploit. He also said that the photographs of the existing nuclear reactor in Iran filled with cement were photoshopped. These images were taken and widely circulated as evidence that the reactor was unusable and therefore in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. Salehi claimed that Iran was never technically required to seal the reactor.
Salehi continued: “Iran has lost nothing as a result of signing the agreement and history will prove this. We have preserved our capabilities in the field of enrichment. We are…continuing to manufacture new centrifuges. We are doing everything we need to do.”
Behrooz Kamalvandi, a representative for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also publicly stated that Iran’s nuclear program is ongoing, saying that the Arak facility is currently being redesigned with financial assistance from China. Kamalvandi said that these plans would not change even if the nuclear plan fell apart. China is a signatory of the nuclear deal.
The MEK’s Opposition to the Nuclear Deal
Sanctions were originally imposed upon Iran’s oil industry because the international community became aware of the regime’s nuclear program. This discovery was made by MEK supporters inside Iran who smuggled information about the regime’s nuclear activities outside of the country at great personal risk.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) April 21, 2017
When the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was proposed, the MEK vocally opposed the deal, stating that the regime had never ceased their nuclear program and would not comply with the terms of the deal. The MEK has continued to oppose the nuclear deal and has been adamant in stating that Iran’s nuclear program is still active and poses a threat to the global community.
All of the Benefits with None of the Restrictions
Salehi’s statement has left many questioning the Iranian regime’s intentions. Why would the regime admit that it intends to create new nuclear facilities and materials, why would it claim to have falsified evidence that it rendered its reactor unusable, and why would it do so now?
Simply put, the Iranian regime never ceased its nuclear program, nor did it end its ambition to create nuclear weapons. The process has accelerated significantly because of the recent domestic and international crises facing the mullahs, including the widespread protests taking place inside the country and the blacklisting of the regime’s Intelligence Ministry by the E.U. in response to a series of attempted terrorist attacked by Iranian agents in Europe last year.
Since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year, Iran’s oil exports have dropped to under one million barrels per day.
This is despite the regime’s efforts to solicit the aid of the E.U. in retaining international buyers. The E.U. has been less than helpful in this pursuit so far, causing the regime’s Foreign Ministry to walk out of a meeting with E.U. representatives on January 8th. The regime, finding itself in a desperate position, is now using the strategy it most commonly employs when cornered: threats.
Salehi claimed earlier this month that Iran had the capability to increase its uranium enrichment by 20% within four days. A few days ago, the regime made a failed attempt to launch satellites into space using technology that could be used to launch a nuclear warhead.
Some supporters of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that Iran should withdraw from the nuclear deal completely. Regime President Hassan Rouhani and his supporters say that Iran should remain part of the deal. Salehi’s statements provide a compromise for the two factions. Hassan Rouhani’s faction can claim the victory of keeping the benefits of remaining part of the nuclear deal, while Khamenei’s faction can ignore the restrictions, essentially violating the spirit of the deal.