Iran has reopened a “major” nuclear plant that has been inactive for the past nine years, the country’s atomic energy agency (AEOI) announced on Wednesday.
“The production plant at Isfahan UCF Complex has been practically inactive since 2009 because of the lack of yellowcake in the country,” the AEOI said in a statement. “It is important that the resumption of the Isfahan UCF provides for the fulfillment and execution of the supreme leader’s order to prepare for an increase in enrichment capacity.”
Although the regime insists that the purposes of their nuclear development are peaceful, the reopened plant will allow the conversion uranium powder known as yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride gas, which can be used for atomic bombs as well as nuclear power plants.
The announcement comes as Tehran prepares to bolster its uranium enrichment activities over a month after President Donald Trump confirmed that the United States would pull out of 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed by Barack Obama alongside European leaders.
The move appears to be an attempt to pressure European leaders into finding a way of circumventing sanctions reimposed by the United States following the decision to pull out the deal. Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani has already written to leaders in France, Germany, and Britain to warn them that time to save the deal is running out. Rouhani, regarded as a “moderate” when he was elected, has escalated his incendiary rhetoric against America. On Wednesday, Rouhani urged Iranians to help “bring America to its knees.”
During a speech at the Heritage Foundation last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined a series of demands from Iran to help negotiate a new deal, that included greater transparency in disclosing their nuclear facilities and ending their support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described Pompeo’s speech as a “baseless and insulting statement” that “issued a number of demands and threats against Iran in brazen contravention of international law, well-established international norms, and civilized behavior.”
“It comes as no surprise that the statement and the one made by the US president on Iran were either ignored or received negatively by the international community, including by friends and allies of the United States,” he continued. “Only a small handful of US client states in our region welcomed it.”