Iran’s atomic energy chief said Tuesday that the Islamic Republic would just need five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment to weapons-grade uranium.
Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “If there is a plan for a reaction and a challenge, we will definitely surprise them,” the Associated Press reported . Salehi, who also serves as a vice-president to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, added, “If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent-enrichment in at most five days.”
“While Iran long has maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes,” the AP observed, “uranium enriched to 20 percent and above can be used in nuclear bombs.”
Salehi’s comments echo those made by Rouhani last week, who threatened that if the United States continued to impose even non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, “Iran will definitely return to a situation much more advanced than the start of the [nuclear] negotiations, not within months and weeks, but in a matter of hours and days.”
The 2015 nuclear deal lifted all nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran and precludes the U.S. from imposing new nuclear sanctions.
Then Secretary of State John Kerry told  a Senate hearing at the time of the deal, “They are clear and we are clear that we have all other kinds of authorities, and let me be specific on that, because it’s important for this whole debate to be clear. Even with the lifting of sanctions after eight years on missiles or five year on arms are the UN sanctions. It’s only the UN sanctions. We still have sanctions. Our primary embargo is still in place. We are still sanctioning them.”
Late last month, the U.S. imposed  sanctions on Iran for its illicit ballistic missile program. Meanwhile, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have agreed  with the U.S. that Iran’s missile program, and specifically its recent launch  of a Simorgh missile, violated Security Council resolution 2231 , which formalized the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has charged  that the new sanctions violate the nuclear deal.
Last week it was reported that Iran was building a factory capable of producing long-range missiles in Syria, another violation of resolution 2231. The resolution prohibits , “the supply, sale, or transfer of arms or related materiel from Iran by their nationals or using their flag vessels or aircraft and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran.”
[Photo: Tasnim News / WikiCommons ]