Iranian nuclear officials are claiming that the country is quadrupling its production of enriched uranium.
The state-run IRNA news agency in Iran is claiming that Iran is increasing its uranium production and that the International Atomic Energy Agency had been alerted to this development. The Independent cited Iranian officials who insisted that the uranium would only be enriched to 3.67 percent purity. In order to be used in an atomic bomb, uranium purity needs to be at 90 percent.
At this increased rate of production, it won’t be long before Iran has a larger stockpile of enriched uranium than is permitted under the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration. While the United States pulled out of this deal in 2018, other signatories have tried to keep it going.
James Clapper, former President Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence, dismissed the announcement, telling the BBC that he did not think it was “necessary to go into panic mode yet.”
This announcement from Iran comes just two days after President Donald Trump tweeted, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Trump’s comments “genocidal taunts.”
National security adviser John Bolton also announced that the U.S. was sending a carrier strike group to the region “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
Bolton said that this was “[i]n response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.