Raeisi made the statement in an interview with the CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“In the beginning, we were not seeking 60% levels of enrichment. They (European states) trampled upon their commitments,” the Iranian president said. “What the Islamic Republic of Iran did was in response to a breaking of commitment of the signatories to the (2015) agreement.”
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami announced in June that enriching uranium to the said purity level was in accordance with a December 2020 parliamentary law – the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions.
The law was passed with the purpose of removing anti-Iran sanctions as well as the production of radiopharmaceuticals and detectors, among other aims.
Earlier in the month, Reuters cited a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claiming that Iran’s stockpile of 60% enriched uranium continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than in the previous quarter.
In the interview, Raeisi categorically rejected the country’s enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade levels, saying, “It was officially announced that the action that we intend to take is not intended to reach nuclear weapons of any type or a military dimension of any type, but it is… a response for the lack of commitment demonstrated by the Europeans.”
He also reiterated Tehran’s long-standing conviction that the Islamic Republic does not plan to acquire a nuclear bomb.
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