Sputnik – Iran’s rotor centrifuge factory came online Wednesday, but even though it will help Tehran’s plans to increase its uranium enrichment capacity, the Middle Eastern country remains uninterested in pursuing nuclear weapons, an economist and political analyst told Sputnik.
On Wednesday, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi announced that the country’s rotor centrifuge factory had come online, increasing Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity to 190,000 separative work units (SWUs), its limit within the 2015 nuclear deal.
The factory’s establishment comes after US President Donald President Trump’s pullout from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May.
Speaking to Iranian TV channel IRIB on Wednesday, Salehi announced the completion of the rotor plant, which has the capacity to produce roughly 60 new centrifuges a day, and explained that the factory was built during nuclear talks with world powers.
Shabbir Razvi, an economist and political analyst, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & ClearTuesday it is unclear why global leaders continue to believe that Iran is interested in developing nuclear weapons when the supreme leader in Iran has repeatedly stated that it is uninterested in doing so, also adding that it is unlikely that Europe will help Iran salvage the JCPOA.
“There hasn’t been foreign direct investment in Iran,” Razvi told hosts John Kiriakou and Walter Smolarek.
“However, there has been investment from provincial German banks who have no exposure to the US market. We are literally weeks away from the new sanctions against Iran [by the US] coming into hold. There has been a schism that has been taking place between Europe and the USA. During the last week, US President Donald Trump has been to NATO and he has unruffled many feathers there with numerous European leaders. [However], there are other countries that are very happy to be business with Iran, whether it’s Russia, China and India,” Razvi told Sputnik.
On Wednesday, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said that it risks its business if its invests in Iran because of the US sanctions against the country.
“There is no European bank which is presently able to do businesses in or with Iran,” EIB president Werner Hoyer told the press Tuesday.
“When it comes to acting as a bank, you have to see the limitations,” Hoyer admitted. “We would risk the business model of the bank if we would be active in Iran,” he added.
However, he also described the JCPOA as “one of the finest pieces of European diplomacy” and stressed that it “should be preserved,” EURACTIV reported Wednesday.
“You’ve got to look at the whole history of Iran’s nuclear development,” Razvi told Sputnik.
“Iran has very clearly, adamantly and categorically said over the years that Iran is not interested in producing nuclear armament. The only requirement is for energy so that they can diversify from dependence on oil and other sectors. When the supreme leader [Ali Khamenei] issues a ruling from Islamic perspective that Iran is not interested in nuclear armament, that particular statement is ignored by global leaders,” Razvi said.
“I can’t understand why the world leaders cannot understand this. The new sanctions that are going to come in are not going to cripple Iran. Iran has quite remarkably sustained sanctions during the last 38-odd years. Most of the domestic consumer products are produced in Iran,” Razvi added.
The United States pulled out of the JCPOA in May, despite Iran’s continued compliance with the agreement by not pursuing a nuclear weapons program, as attested to by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The US pullout prompted the deal’s other signatories, including Russia, China and several European powers, to scramble to try and salvage it. During his visit to Europe earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised the other JCPOA signatories’ demonstration of firm political will to remain committed to the deal. Last month, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned that Tehran could not rule out withdrawing from the JCPOA entirely if it is no longer in the country’s interests.
Following the pullout, the US promised to reimpose sanctions that had been lifted under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and to introduce new ones. The US also made threats to reduce Iranian crude oil exports “to zero,” Sputnik reported Wednesday. Iran filed a lawsuit against the US in the International Court of Justice over Washington’s unilateral imposition of sanctions on Tuesday.