TEHRAN -- President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday Iran can enrich uranium to a purity level of 90% if a reactor requires it.
“The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has proved that it can produce uranium enriched to 20 and 60 percent purity levels,” he said. “Even if a reactor needs 90 percent enriched uranium one day, we’ll have no problem and can (produce it),” Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying.
Iran has demonstrated that it can do anything in the course of peaceful employment of nuclear industry, Rouhani added.
He also said he hoped his successor can clinch a deal to lift U.S. sanctions, implying that nuclear talks will not conclude before his term ends in August.
The Islamic Republic has held talks since April in Vienna with major powers on reviving the troubled 2015 nuclear agreement.
The accord offered Tehran international sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, but was torpedoed in 2018 when former U.S. president Donald Trump withdrew from it and reimposed sanctions.
“The work was ready” to be done, Rouhani said of the talks, speaking in a televised cabinet meeting.
But “they took away the 12th administration’s opportunity,” he added about his government, without elaborating. “We hope the 13th administration can finish this work.”
Rouhani is set to hand power in early August to the former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, who last month won a presidential poll.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden has claimed readiness to return to the deal as the accord’s remaining other state parties -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- hold talks in Vienna.
They have held six rounds of talks, concluding the latest on June 20 without setting a date for a new one.
Critics of the agreement have repeatedly criticized Rouhani over the failing nuclear deal, which was reached six years ago on Wednesday.
“Any negotiations that guarantee national interests will certainly be supported, but... we will not allow negotiations to be for negotiations’ sake,” Raisi said on June 21.
He added that “any meeting must produce a result ... for the Iranian nation”.
Rouhani’s government has insisted that Iran’s basic position on the nuclear talks will remain the same.
In his speech, Rouhani also insisted that his government has “done what was required” to lift U.S. sanctions and that Iranians could “clearly see” their efforts in a foreign ministry report released Monday.
The report mentioned in broad terms what has been agreed to in Vienna and included a note from Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif, who called on all political forces to work together to succeed in the talks.
On the sixth anniversary of the agreement, Zarif on Wednesday highlighted the failure of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign and sanctions, writing that “6 years ago today, #JCPOA resolved a UNSC Chapter VII issue without resorting to war”.
He pointed to different approaches taken by the U.S. administrations since the deal was signed in 2015, noting they failed to achieve their goals and will to do so in the future.
“Obama realized his “crippling sanctions” would not cripple Iran or its centrifuges. Trump ineptly thought “maximum pressure” would,” he said in his tweet, adding, “Never will.”
He also criticized the U.S. addiction to the imposition of sanctions, stressing it was time for Washington “to kick the habit.”