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Iran threatens to restart nuclear programme 'within five days'


-If the US pulls out of the deal that ended sanctions, Iran says it will start enriching uranium immediately
Iran has said it could begin the process of producing nuclear weapons in less than a week if the US pulls out of the agreement that ended international sanctions on the country.
Ali Akbar Salehi, one of the country’s vice presidents and head of its atomic programme, told the state-sponsored Press TV network that he was “committed to the 2015 deal and loyal to it” – but said efforts to resume enriching uranium to the 20 per cent level needed for a bomb could be resumed within just five days.
As part of a landmark deal agreed in 2015 with the US, Russia, UK, France and Germany, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment to the five per cent level needed for power stations and reduce its stockpile of nuclear material. In exchange, sanctions were lifted.
Sakehi’s comments follow a hardening of rhetoric from Tehran over the summer, “in apparent reaction to increased sanctions imposed by America this month”, says The Independent.
In July, the US treasury imposed sanctions on six Iranian firms for their role in the development of a ballistic missile program after Tehran launched a rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit. The US Senate also placed fresh sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
This prompted moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who won a second term earlier this year primarily because of the agreement, to warn that the US threat to reimpose economic penalties would give Iran a reason to build up its nuclear resources.
Boasting of the speed with which the country could increase its nuclear capability, he said that “in an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced level than at the beginning of the negotiations”.
As a candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly denounced the multilateral agreement spearheaded by Barack Obama as “the worst ever deal” and as President he has accused Iran of violating the “spirit” of the deal.
Nevertheless, the Trump administration has so far decided not to withdraw the US from the agreement. According to reports in US media, a joint effort by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defence Secretary James Mattis and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was instrumental in convincing the President that it was in the US’s interest to stay for now.

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