Iran's top leader said on Monday he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after the US withdrawal, and he vowed never to accept limits on Tehran's ballistic missile program.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has prepped Iranian scientists to increase its uranium enrichment capacity if its controversial nuclear deal with the U.S. falls apart.
"The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran is duty-bound to prepare the ground for achieving 190 thousand SWUs", Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted saying by Iranian state media, referring to a measure of uranium enrichment capacity.
Earlier on Monday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hinted at the move by warning European leaders against their "dream" of Tehran continuing to curb its nuclear programme while finding itself under new economic sanctions.
US President Donald Trump pulled out last month from the 2015 accord between Iran and world powers that lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program.
In his speech marking the 29th anniversary of the death of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei insisted on resisting USA pressure and again warned of a harsh response if Iran came under attack. Iran has repeatedly denied seeking a nuclear weapon from enrichment.
"If Iran does not get the financial guarantees in oil and access to the financial system, then I don't see Iran sticking to the deal because the pressure from (Iranian) hardliners is only increasing", said a Western official.
He said the global community should seek to curb Iran's ballistic missile program through a separate deal, and not by re-vamping the existing agreement.
But President Trump dramatically pulled out of the agreement, leaving the remaining European signatories scrambling to save it. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the USA would re-impose its sanctions on Iran.
The deal allows Iran to continue 3.67% uranium enrichment, far below the roughly 90% threshold of weapons-grade.
Israel took aim at Iran on Monday with a popular "Mean Girls" meme.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, June 4, 2018.
Iran, which won sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, has said repeatedly its nuclear activity was exclusively peaceful in nature.
It is doing so in Syria, in Yemen and other places", the Israeli prime minister said, adding that in Syria, Iran was trying to place its forces "with the explicit goal of...
But the remaining backers of the accord have limited power to protect Iran's economic interests in the face of United States sanctions, with Trump showing little inclination to spare European Union companies.
'It's important to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. "Fortunately, we are not alone", he said.