Iran cleric: Tehran enriching uranium, but not for nuclear weapons

By Clyde Hughes
The nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran, processes uranium fuel. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI
The nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran, processes uranium fuel. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

July 5 (UPI) -- Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani said Friday the Iranian government will keep moving away from the nuclear agreement, enriching uranium at levels that have already exceeded the cap set by the 2015 pact.

Kermani said Tehran will enrich the uranium for electricity and scientific activities, but not nuclear weapons. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the decision to breach the Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action is an effort to guard the deal.


"We will remain committed to the deal as long as the remaining participants (European Union, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China) observe the deal," Zarif told The New York Times.

"Survival or collapse of the JCPOA depends on the ability and willingness of all parties to invest in this undertaking. In a nutshell, a multilateral agreement cannot be implemented unilaterally."

Zarif said the Obama-era agreement was negotiated and made "with open eyes," and was the best deal possible for all parties at the time.

"We accepted the reality that we could not resolve all our differences in this deal and we agreed to leave them out," he said.


Iran's decision to add to its uranium stockpile follows new U.S. sanctions intended to hamper Iran's economy, primarily its ability to sell oil. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who visited Jerusalem this week, has said there's a new plan in the works allowing Iran and Arab countries to operate nuclear power plants without uranium-processing capacity.

"When you don't make your own fuel, you can't make a bomb," he told reporters.

Graham also criticized a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling it dangerous and unworkable.

"The goal is to find an acceptable two-state solution," he said.

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