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Salehi Says Iran Could Resume Uranium Enrichment In Five Days

  • RFE/RL

Ali Akbar Salehi said that Iran's "biggest priority" was to maintain the nuclear accord, but "not at any price." (file photo)

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization has said that the country would need only five days to resume high-level uranium enrichment.

The August 22 comments by Ali Akbar Salehi follow accusations by the U.S. administration that Tehran is not abiding by the spirit of the 2015 agreement with world powers, which placed curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Tehran, for its part, accuses Washington of violating the spirit of the deal by imposing new sanctions against the Islamic republic over its missile program.

"If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent-enrichment in at most five days," Salehi told state broadcaster IRIB.

He said that Iran's "biggest priority" was to maintain the nuclear accord, but "not at any price."

The July 2015 nuclear deal gave Iran relief from international sanctions and imposed restrictions on its nuclear activities, including a cap on its uranium enrichment at under 5 percent.

High-level enrichment of uranium -- 20 percent or more -- would take Tehran close to the level needed for a nuclear weapon.

U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have found Iran has adhered to the deal.

However, the U.S. administration has frequently charged that Tehran violates the spirit of the agreement by continuing to test-launch ballistic missiles and rockets capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on August 15 that Washington was reviewing its policy toward Iran and that it believed the nuclear deal did not put an end to Tehran's other "destabilizing activities" in the region.

The United States has imposed several rounds of sanctions over the missile and rocket launches.

Iran maintains those launches are for self-defense and do not violate the deal.

Tehran has long said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

With reporting by AFP and AP
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