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Iran Says It Will Enrich Uranium in Violation of Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered top government officials to take actions that could violate last year’s nuclear deal, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The orders, which can be found on Rouhani’s presidential website, instructed Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali Akbar Salehi to:

“1. Plan for designing and manufacturing nuclear engine to be used in marine transportation with the help of scientific and research centres.
2. Study and design production of fuel to be used by the nuclear engine with the help of scientific and research centres.”

The development of a nuclear propulsion system for submarines would likely require enriching uranium to 20 percent. This violates the terms of the deal, which limit Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 3.67 percent.

Rouhani claimed, falsely, that that the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act by the House of Representatives and Senate in the past month constituted a violation of the nuclear deal (though president Barack Obama has not yet signed the bill to make it official). Similar claims were made in November by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rejected those charges. “Iran is making this up. These problems don’t exist,” Cardin told The Weekly Standard.  “Congress, by extending [the Iran Sanctions Act], is not taking any new steps against Iran at all,”  but merely ensuring that sanctions that were waived by Obama remain on the books so that they can be “snapped back” if Iran violates the deal.

In fact, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations agency that is charged with monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, has declared that Tehran has already violated the deal twice by exceeding its cap on heavy water, nuclear runoff that can be used to produce weaponizable material.

When serving as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Rouhani agreed to a temporary halt of uranium enrichment as part of the November 2004 Paris Agreement. But Iran backed out of the deal in August 2005 and began enriching uranium again. The following year, Rouhani boasted to a meeting of clerics that during the time that talks were going on in Paris, Iran was able to install equipment for converting yellowcake, a necessary step in enriching uranium.

[Photo: Mehr News ]