Iran announced a more than tenfold increase in its enriched uranium stockpile on Monday, raising concerns the nation is closer to developing a nuclear weapon.
Following a series of steps back from a 2015 nuclear deal with the United States no longer intact, Iran has also developed two new advanced centrifuges, which on is still undergoing testing, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said.
“We must thank the enemy for bringing about this opportunity to show the might of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in the nuclear industry,” Salehi said.
“This is while some say (Iran’s) nuclear industry was destroyed!” he said while laughing.
Salehi also said that Iranian engineers “have successfully built a prototype of IR-9, which is our newest machine, and also a model of a new machine called IR-s … all these in two months.”
Iran is producing five kilograms of enriched uranium per day, Salehi told reporters at the Natanz facility in central Iran, which is more than 11 times the 450 grams it was producing two months ago.
As tensions between the United States and Iran rise, Iran has continued to increase its stockpile of heavy water, which is used at its nuclear reactor in Arak, above the now-defunct 2015 agreements limit of 130 tonnes.
The 2015 deal was designed to allow Iran to sell its oil in exchange for curbing its uranium enrichment program. Instead of renewing the deal, the United States is looking to get more countries involved and in its place are crippling economic sanctions on the nation.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei doubled down on previous statements he would not allow the two nations to hold any new talks, Radio Free Europe/Liberty Radio reported.
“One way to block America’s political infiltration is to ban any talks with America. It means Iran will not yield to America’s pressure,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on TV on Sunday.
“Those who see negotiations with the U.S. as the solution to every problem are certainly mistaken,” he added. “Nothing will come out of talking to the U.S. because they certainly and definitely won’t make any concessions.”
Furthermore, Israeli officials have claimed that Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons sites.
Israeli embassy spokesman Elad Strohmayer wrote in a series of tweets that Israel “has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site.”
He added: “We have proof that #Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there, and that they destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it.”