Iranian Lawmakers Threaten to Increase Enrichment

Responding to American sanctions threats, Iranians draft bill that would increase uranium enrichment to a 60% level.

Elad Benari ,

Bushehr nuclear reactor
Bushehr nuclear reactor

In response to planned legislation by United States Senators to increase sanctions on Iran, lawmakers in the Islamic Republic have drafted a bill of their own to increase the country’s level of uranium enrichment.

Press TV reported on Wednesday that the bill would oblige the government to produce 60-percent enriched uranium.

The bill was signed by 100 legislators and presented to the Majlis (Iranian parliament) on Wednesday, according to the report.

“If the bill is approved, the government will be obliged to complete nuclear infrastructure at Fordo and Natanz if sanctions [against Iran] are ratcheted up, new sanctions are imposed, the country’s nuclear rights are violated and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s peaceful nuclear rights are ignored by members of P5+1,” Iranian lawmaker Seyyed Mehdi Mousavinejad was quoted as having said.

The bill would oblige the government to put the Arak heavy water reactor into operation and enrich uranium to the 60-percent purity level in order to provide fuel for submarine engines if the sanctions are tightened and Iran’s nuclear rights are ignored, he added.

Senators in the United States, dissatisfied with the interim nuclear deal that was reached between Iran and Western powers, have drafted a bill that would impose tougher sanctions on Tehran if it refuses to dismantle its contested nuclear program after the end of a six-month negotiating period.

The bill has already garnered support from a quarter of the Senate and could come to a vote next month. In response, the White House threatened last week to use its veto power against legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran.

The Obama administration, for its part, has waged an aggressive campaign to convince lawmakers to postpone passing new sanctions on Iran.

Obama recently told lawmakers that Iran would make progress in its ability to build a nuclear weapon if there is no diplomatic deal to halt or roll back its nuclear program.

Earlier this month, the United States blacklisted several companies that evaded the existing sanctions on Iran. 

The news evoked outrage from Tehran, which attacked the move, claiming the U.S. "violated terms" of the interim deal and accusing Washington of taking orders from "radical Zionist lobbies." 

In protest of the American blacklist, the Iranians also walked out on technical talks in Geneva regarding the implementation of the nuclear deal. Iran agreed to resume the technical talks after the EU assured it that the world powers would “continue the talks in goodwill.”

Washington has explained that the blacklist did not constitute new sanctions, which the West agreed not to impose as part of the Geneva deal, but were rather part of the previous sanctions regime.