TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Parliament speaker Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf said Sunday Iran’s recent decision to start enriching uranium to 60 percent purity was a "decisive response” to a plot to undermine Tehran’s position in Vienna talks.
The decision followed an act of sabotage at the facility, which is among the sites being monitored by the IAEA under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The 60-percent uranium enrichment, which was made possible in a short time, shows that the interval between decision-making and action in the country’s nuclear industry has reached the minimum, Qalibaf said.
"The important enrichment achievement proved to our enemies that Iran’s nuclear industry has become indigenous and that any uncalculated action and pressure on Iran’s national determination for scientific progress is ineffective.”
The 60-percent enrichment, Qalibaf said, was "a decisive response to the enemy’s scheme meant to weaken the country’s upper hand in the negotiation process”.
Representatives of the remaining signatories to the JCPOA have been meeting in Vienna to try to remove the unilateral U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic and discuss other steps needed to bring Washington into line.
Qalibaf said the higher enrichment indicated that acts of sabotage do not pose a threat to Iran’s nuclear activities, but practically provide "a unique opportunity” for progress.
"I also emphasize that a response to the terrorist attack in Natanz is an indispensable necessity and that it will be delivered in due time,” he said.
The former head of military intelligence for the Israeli army said Saturday Iran’s first ever launch of 60-percent uranium enrichment after the sabotage incident shows the country was prepared for the attack.
The "terrorist” attack disrupted the flow of power at the Natanz nuclear facility, prompting Iran’s enemies to speculate that the incident would set back Iran’s enrichment program for at least nine months. However, Tehran’s immediate launch of the 60-percent enrichment debunked those claims.
That shows "Iran has been waiting for this attack for 20 years,” Amos Yadlin told CNBC television.
The International Atomic Energy Agency on Saturday confirmed
that Iran has started the process of enriching uranium to 60 percent fissile purity at Natanz.
Yadlin said Iran’s nuclear energy program is "much more fortified and dispersed”, making it hard to attack.
"Iran has learned from what we have done,” Yadlin said, claiming that the occupying regime of Israel had also learned from what it had done and had "more capabilities” for new sabotage acts.
CNBC cited the options that the Zionist regime’s military planners had against Iran’s nuclear program, including "covert attacks, clandestine actions and cyberattacks”.
"In essence, try everything short of war,” the network said of the "five strategies to stop Iran”, adding the last resort was bombing Iran’s nuclear program or pushing for regime change.
On Saturday, Iran named a suspect in the latest attack on Natanz, saying he had fled the country "hours before” the sabotage happened. National television named the suspect as 43-year-old Reza Karimi and showed an Interpol "red notice” seeking his arrest.
The report said "necessary actions” are underway to bring Karimi back to Iran through legal channels. The Interpol "red notice” listed his foreign travel history as including Ethiopia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Qatar, Romania, Turkey, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.
The report also showed centrifuges in a hall. "The sound that you are hearing is the sound of operating machines that are fortunately undamaged,” the reporter said, the high-pitched sound of the centrifuges heard in the background.
"Many of the centrifuge chains that faced defects are now under control. Part of the work that had been disrupted will be back on track with the round-the-clock efforts of my colleagues,” an engineer speaking to the network said.