The remarks come as European powers, the United States at odds with Iran on how to restore the nuclear deal.
Tehran, Iran – Iran could increase its uranium enrichment to 60% purity if the country needs it, Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said, raising the stakes in a stalemate with the West over the country’s nuclear deal in 2015.
“We are determined to acquire nuclear capabilities commensurate with the country’s needs and for this reason Iran’s enrichment limit will not be 20%,” Khamenei said in a speech on Monday to members of the Assembly of Experts.
“Iran will act at any level necessary. For example, for the advancement of nuclear, we could even increase it to 60%. “
Khamenei, however, stressed that this does not mean Iran is after nuclear weapons, claiming that the West and Israel also know it but want to use the excuse to “extort” Iran.
“If the Islamic Republic had taken the decision to acquire nuclear weapons, [Israel] and those bigger than that couldn’t stop it, ”he said.
His remarks come as European powers and the United States, which abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018, disagree with Iran on how to restore it and lift sanctions imposed by former US President Donald Trump.
The nuclear deal capped Iran’s uranium enrichment purity at 3.67%.
But a year after the withdrawal of the United States, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments and, among other things, increased enrichment to 4.5%.
After the assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November last year, parliament passed a law demanding 20% enrichment.
The law also requires the administration of President Hassan Rouhani to limit international nuclear inspections from Tuesday.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported that Iran would end the implementation of the additional protocol that allows the United Nations nuclear watchdog to carry out rapid inspections at sites not declared to the agency. .
“At midnight tonight [20:30 GMT], we will not have… commitments beyond the guarantees. The necessary orders have been given to the nuclear installations, ”Tasnim said, quoting Kazem Gharibabadi, Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency.