New Sanctions Will Mean More Centrifuges

New Sanctions Will Mean More Centrifuges New Sanctions Will Mean More Centrifuges

A foreign ministry official said Iran would increase the number of its uranium enrichment machines if the United States imposed new sanctions.  

"Naturally, it is a source of concern for everyone. It is a return to a situation from which no one is going to benefit. Iran will certainly go ahead with its nuclear program (if the United States imposes new sanctions). We are going to install more centrifuges," Hamid Baeidinejad, director general of the political and international security department of the foreign ministry, told a news conference at the Iranian Embassy in Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian news agency TASS reported.

The nuclear negotiator also said the talks with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on Tehran's nuclear program have reached an important and critical stage.

"At this point, we've decided to expand cooperation with Russia," he noted.

Baeidinejad travelled to Moscow on Wednesday to hold consultations with Russian officials on the latest developments in the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, international nuclear disarmament efforts, the establishment of regions free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and the 2015 review conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, known as NPT.

  Bill in the Pipeline  

Parliamentarians last Tuesday approved the urgency of bringing to the floor a bill that would require the government to step up its nuclear activities if new nuclear-related sanctions were imposed.

The chairman of the Majlis Nuclear Committee had earlier said, "According to the bill, if the United States increases sanctions, the Geneva agreement will be annulled and the Islamic Republic will resume all its nuclear activities, and if the United States imposes more sanctions again, the Islamic Republic will take further action."

Iran and the six major powers (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) reached a preliminary nuclear deal in Geneva in November 2013, under which Iran agreed to temporarily scale down parts of its nuclear program in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions.

They are now in talks to work out a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program by a self-imposed June 30 deadline.   

Some US lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would levy more sanctions on Iran if it failed to reach a final nuclear deal with the major powers by the deadline in an attempt to pressure Iran to yield to US demands, including a call for a sharp cut in Tehran's uranium enrichment capacity.  

Key Democratic US senators said late last month they would put off supporting new Iran sanctions for at least two months, after a threat by President Barack Obama to veto the bill he said could scuttle nuclear talks with Tehran.

The co-author of legislation, Senator Robert Menendez, said at the time that he and other Democrats would not back passage of the bill unless nuclear talks failed to produce a general understanding by March 24. The US Senate Banking Committee voted on Jan. 29 to advance the new sanctions bill. However, the bill is not expected to come up for a vote in the full Senate until at least March 24.