Iran's president has called Tehran's latest decision to enrich uranium to its highest level ever, a response to the "evilness" of other countries.
Following an attack at its Natanz nuclear facility on Sunday, Iran unveiled plans to increase uranium enrichment levels up to 60-percent and add 1-thousand advanced centrifuge machines at the plant to increase capacity.
Speaking at Wednesday's cabinet meeting, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran's move is retaliation for Sunday's attack,… and warned that such (quote) "crimes" can bring consequences.
"If you see that today we have announced that we will activate IR-6's in Natanz or that we will increase enrichment to 60%, this is a response to your evilness. You cannot conspire against the people of Iran; you cannot commit crimes in Natanz. We will cut your hand off when you commit a crime. We cut both your hands, one with the IR-6 and one with 60% (enrichment)."
Prior to announcing the heightened enrichment levels, Iran has been increasing its uranium purity to up to 20-percent in recent months.
This is well above the limit of a 2015 nuclear agreement, which only allows 3.6-7 percent purity.
However, during the meeting, the president reiterated that its atomic activities are for peaceful purposes.
In a joint statement on Wednesday,… France, Germany, and the UK pointed out that the increased level of enrichment was unnecessary for civilian use.
The countries expressed "grave concerns" as highly enriched uranium is essential for producing nuclear weapons.
The statement added that Iran's move is especially regrettable,… as major powers are currently in Vienna for talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday dismissed initial offers from Vienna,… calling them "humiliating" and "not worth looking at".
A standoff between Iran and the U.S. is likely to continue,.. as the two cannot seem to reach middle ground between lifting of sanctions by Washington and Iran's return to full compliance under the deal.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.