Israel, which wreaked havoc on Iran’s Natanz nuclear power plant, has threatened to take all necessary measures to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told a conference in Cyprus that she was ready to take all possible measures to destroy Iran’s intentions to acquire the atomic bomb.
Israel gave the threat at a time when Iran began enriching uranium to 60% purity on Friday after an attack on the Natanz nuclear site. Uranium of such purity is close to the enrichment threshold required for nuclear weapons and aims to push for the reestablishment of the nuclear deal with world powers in Vienna.
A senior official said that just a few grams of uranium gas would be increased to 60% purity in an hour. This is three times the level Tehran cultivated previously, however, the enrichment rate is much slower than its capacity. International inspectors have previously said Iran plans to do so on the surface of the Natanz nuclear center, not under ground halls strong enough to withstand airstrikes.
However, there is a possibility of increasing the tension with this step. This too at a time when Iran is negotiating with world powers in Vienna on how to bring the United States back to the deal and whether the Islamic Republic is exempt from tougher economic sanctions. However, its reach also allows Iran to quickly reduce tensions, if it so chooses. The importance of this statement increases further after the centrifuges were damaged in an attack on the Iranian nuclear establishment last week. Israel is suspected of an attack.
Israel has not claimed responsibility for an attack so far, but a long-running proxy war between the two West Asian candidates stands in the way of that claim. The move was confirmed in a Twitter message from Mohammad Bagher Qalibuff, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, who was later also quoted on Iranian national television. Kalibuff said, “Iranian scientists who believe in youth and Allah have acquired 60% of enriched uranium products.”
He said: “I congratulate the courageous Islamic nation of Iran on this achievement. The national will of the Iranians is miraculous and can thwart any conspiracy. This decision was later confirmed by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization, Iran’s civilian nuclear arm, according to state television. Ali Akbar Salehi said centrifuges now produce nine grams per hour but in the coming days they will be reduced to five grams per hour. Salehi said, “Now any enrichment (level) is possible, if we determine it.
Iranian state television later called the verdict a “show of power against terrorist extremism.” It is also unclear why the announcement was made by radical Kalibuff, a former leader of the Revolutionary Guard paramilitary force. He is also being nominated as a potential presidential candidate in the upcoming Iranian elections in June. Uranium enrichment has yet to be done by Iran to 60 percent purity. However, it is still below the 90% level required for weapons.