Iranian President promises to continue nuclear activities


President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran will continue its nuclear development activities as talks to revive the Tehran nuclear deal with world powers stalled

TEHRAN, Iran — President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that Iran would continue nuclear development activities as talks to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers stalled, state media reported.

In a speech marking Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day, the uncompromising president said his government would support accelerating research into peaceful nuclear technology.

“Our knowledge and technology in the nuclear field is irreversible. Iran’s (continued) research on peaceful nuclear fields will not depend on the demands or viewpoints of others,” said Raisi, who came to power in August.

Raisi’s comments came as talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled. There is concern that Iran could be closer to building a nuclear weapon if it chooses to pursue one.

The nuclear deal fell through four years ago when former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States and imposed crushing sanctions on Iran. Meanwhile, Iran has greatly expanded its nuclear work.

Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program be used for peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and medicinal isotopes.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Iran showcased its new civilian nuclear achievements, including multiple medicinal isotopes, agricultural pesticides, decontamination devices and nuclear fuel material. The report did not elaborate on this.

The head of Iran’s civilian Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad Eslami, said Iran will soon go ahead with the construction of a new nuclear power plant with a capacity of 360 megawatts. It is to be built near the town of Darkhovin in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan in the south-west of the country.

The plant was supposed to be built with the help of France before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but the project was halted in the early stages. The site became a key battleground in the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that began in 1980.

Iran’s only nuclear power plant with an output of 1,000 megawatts went online in 2011 with Russian help in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Iran’s reserves of enriched uranium continue to grow and are currently enriching it to a purity of up to 60%. That’s the highest rate Iran has ever had, and just a small technical step away from a weapons-grade 90%. It is far higher than the 3.67% cap of the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Iran on Saturday imposed symbolic sanctions on more U.S. officials over their role in harming Iran, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The 16-person list included George William Casey, former commander of American forces in Iraq; CENTCOM former commander Joseph Votel; former commander of US forces in Afghanistan Austin Scott Miller; US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea and other US officials from the former Trump administration.

From time to time, Iran adds a long list of sanctioned Americans. In January, Iran imposed sanctions on more than 50 Americans for their alleged role in the 2020 assassination of a top Iranian general in Iraq. In 2021, Iran imposed sanctions on Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and eight others.

The sanctions prohibit the targets from entering Iran and the possible confiscation of their assets in Iran. They are considered symbolic as Americans have no assets in Iran.


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