Iran Leader Defies US, Orders Uranium Enrichment

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TEHRAN — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei Monday ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to start enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000SWU without any delay.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the defiant remarks in a ceremony held at the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum in south Tehran to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the passing away of the founder of the Islamic Republic.

“It seems from what they say that some European governments expect the Iranian nation to both put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities and continue to observe limitations [on its nuclear program]. I tell those governments that this bad dream will never come true,” the Leader said.

Stressing that the Iranian nation and government cannot tolerate to be both sanctioned and be put in the “nuclear custody,” Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the AEOI to take rapid steps to make preparations for starting uranium enrichment “up to a level of 190,000SWU for the time being within the framework of the JCPOA” and take other preliminary steps that the president has ordered from tomorrow (Tuesday).

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.

Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Supreme Leader stated that all measures taken by enemies against the Islamic Republic were the result of their desperation and confusion in the face of the Islamic establishment.

Enemy’s measures against the Islamic Republic show how desperate they are in their face-off with Iran rather than being a sign of their power, Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader added that the measures taken by enemies of the Iranian nation may slow down the forward march of the nation, but cannot stop its progress.

Ayatollah said Iran would respond harshly to any attack.

“Iran will attack 10 times more if attacked by enemies… The enemies don’t want an independent Iran in the region… We will continue our support for oppressed nations,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran had no intention of curbing its influence in the Middle East and urged Arab youth to stand up to US pressure.

“Young Arabs, you should take action and the initiative to control your own future … Some regional countries act like their own people’s enemies,” he said in an allusion to US-allied Gulf Arab states who have supported rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Tehran.

Tensions between Iran and the West have resurged since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, calling it deeply flawed.

European signatories are scrambling to save the accord, which they see as crucial to forestalling an Iranian nuclear weapons, by protecting trade with Iran against the reimposition of US sanctions to dissuade Tehran from quitting the deal.

One of Trump’s demands – which European allies back in principle – is negotiations to rein in Iran’s ballistic missile program, which was not covered by the nuclear deal.

Iranian Supreme Leader said this was non-negotiable. “Some Europeans are talking about limiting our defensive missile program. I am telling the Europeans, ‘Limiting our missile work is a dream that will never come true,” he said.

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