Israeli Minister Calls for Military Coalition if Iran Boosts Enrichment Capacity

Israeli Minister Calls for Military Coalition if Iran Boosts Enrichment Capacity

Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters that the infrastructure, which has been developed domestically, has the capability to produce several hundred-thousand Separative Work Units of enriched uranium.

Earlier Monday, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency renewed calls for Iran to provide "timely and proactive cooperation" in inspections that are part of the nuclear deal.

Israel's Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz said Tuesday that a US-led military coalition would confront Iran if it resumed its enrichment of military-grade uranium.

Netanyahu was a staunch opponent of the deal and welcomed the Trump administration's decision last month to withdraw from it. Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China, which also signed the agreement, have said they want to preserve it.

"Our enemies will never be able to halt our nuclear progress.It is their bad dream and will not happen", Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech. Iran for now also is honoring the agreement.

Tehran has threatened to restart its uranium enrichment programme at an "industrial level" if the 2015 pact falls apart.

Salehi stressed that his announcement was just the start of the production process and did not mean Iran was about to start assembling centrifuges.

Hoping to protect their interests, the Europeans have proposed hammering out a supplementary deal with Tehran covering its ballistic missile program as well as its interventions in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Netanyahu, on a tour to persuade European countries to follow the United States administration of Donald Trump in tearing up a nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran, said the country was using proceeds from eased sanctions to finance conflict.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting on Monday that Iran's activities in the Middle East are a concern, particularly for Israel's security.

But Iran had already been denied much of the economic benefits it had hoped for from the deal, thanks to the continued reluctance of global banks to facilitate trade and a raft of non-nuclear United States sanctions that were never lifted.

Major global companies are already beginning to distance themselves from Iran in fear of USA sanctions.

A Western official said: "If Iran does not get the financial guarantees in oil and access to the financial system, then I don't see Iran sticking to the deal because the pressure from hardliners is only increasing".

In return, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were dropped in January 2016.

Mr Trump cited evidence of a secret nuclear programme, announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a justification for stepping away from the deal. The Europeans have expressed unease with Iran's ballistic missiles and its efforts to manipulate the politics of the Middle East.

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