President Trump is up against a May deadline to re-certify or scrap the Iranian nuclear agreement. Just in time for his decision, Iran is threatening to restart its nuclear program immediately. From Adam Kredo:
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization disclosed on Sunday that the Islamic Republic has maintained the ability to restart the full-scale enrichment of uranium—the key component in a nuclear weapon that was supposed to be removed from Iran as part of the nuclear agreement—in just four days.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's atomic work, claimed Iran could enrich uranium to 20 percent, which is more than enough to quickly reach the threshold to power a nuclear weapon, in just four days if the word is given by Iran's hardline ruling regime.
"If senior Islamic Republic officials issue an order to resume the 20% enrichment, we can do it in [the] Fordo [nuclear facility] within 4 days," Salehi was quoted as telling reporters on Sunday in Iran's state-controlled press.
The comments are meant serve "as a warning" to the United States and other global powers, which Iran has accused of violating the accord by not implementing a series of economic concessions that would give Iran access billions in cash resources and business deals.
"Iran can even show more extensive progress in other parts of its nuclear activities to go beyond the previous levels," Iran's state-controlled Fars News Agency reported Salehi as warning.
It is expected Trump will not agree to extending the deal, especially with newly minted National Security Advisor John Bolton at the helm. Bolton has argued for years against keeping the deal and has called on President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise of ending it.
Last year, Bolton laid out a plan in National Review about how the United States can successfully get out of the agreement.
Meanwhile, European allies are encouraging the United States to stay in the nuclear agreement and claim they are willing to offer substantial fixes to keep the deal. Allies in the Middle East region, however, are urging America to get out and approach Iran in an aggressive, realistic way.
In January, President Trump extended the Iran nuclear agreement, but warned it would be the last time without significant changes.
"Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately," Trump said. "No one should doubt my word. I said I would not certify the nuclear deal—and I did not. I will also follow through on this pledge."
"I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran. Those who, for whatever reason, choose not to work with us will be siding with the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, and against the people of Iran and the peaceful nations of the world," he continued.