ANKARA (Reuters) – The Iranian leader said on Monday he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment if a nuclear deal with the world powers failed after the US withdrawal, and vowed never to limit the Tehran missile program.
The tensions between Iran and the West have risen again since President Donald Trump's 2015 nuclear power deal with Tehran and called it profoundly flawed.
European signatories urge the rescue of the agreement, which they see as crucial to the prevention of an Iranian nuclear bomb, by attempting to shield trade with Iran against new US financial sanctions in order to prevent Tehran from giving up the deal.
"Our enemies will never be able to stop our nuclear progress … It's their bad dream and will not happen," said Iran's top Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a televised speech.
If the agreement's European, Russian and Chinese signatories are unable to protect its economic benefits for Iran, Khamenei said: "I have instructed Iran's Atomic Energy Authority to be ready to improve our (uranium) enrichment capacity . "
He appeared to be hardening a threat to restore Iran's controversial enrichment efforts made after Trump's termination of the nuclear deal.
One of Trump's demands – which in principle supports European allies – is new negotiations to rein in the Iranian ballistic missile program, which was not covered by the nuclear agreement.
Khamenei has ruled that out again. "Some Europeans are talking about limiting our defense missile program, and I say to the Europeans," Limiting our rocket work is a dream that will never come true, "he said.
Under this agreement, the Islamic Republic curtailed its Ability to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, and in turn won over most of the international sanctions that hampered their economy.
Trump also said that the 2015 agreement, which was taken under his predecessor Barack Obama, was not Iranian Nuclear work has raised its role in conflict in Yemen and Syria since 2025. Although European powers are committed to the deal, they share Trump's concerns and wish for more extensive talks with Iran to address the issues.
Khamenei rejected this as " economic and psychological … war against us, and new American sanctions are part of d avon ".
While all of Iran's keen public is responding to US threats of tougher sanctions, some high-ranking Iranian officials see the US position as a" negotiating strategy "and believe the door to a diplomatic compromise should remain open.
Iran's increasing ability to enrich uranium for higher fissile grades has been one of the most burning issues in years of negotiations with the world powers seeking a limited scope of exploration to minimize Iran's risk of nuclear explosives Assemble at short notice. Iran has repeatedly denied acquiring a nuclear weapon from enrichment.
Major General Ali Jafari, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, said last year that it would have missiles with a range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) that could hit the nemesis Israel and "most American interests and forces" in the middle east.
Following the US withdrawal on 12 May, Iran said it would remain in the nuclear agreement only if, in collaboration with other signatories to the Pact, it was protected against US sanctions against key sectors of its economy such as oil.
Options for the EU to retain Tehran in the nuclear agreement include new credit lines for Tehran, increased energy cooperation and the implementation of EU law to prevent European companies from breaking into US sanctions ,
In his speech on the 29th anniversary of the death of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei insisted on resisting pressure from the US and again warned against a harsh reaction if Iran were attacked.
"Tehran will attack 10 times more if it is attacked by enemies … The enemies do not want an independent Iran in the region … We will continue our support for oppressed nations," Khamenei said.
Shiite Muslim Iran supports President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, Shiite militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen and the heavily armed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
Khamenei also said Iran had no intention of curbing its influence in the Middle East, as demanded by the Western powers, and urged Arab youth to resist pressure from the United States.
"Young Arabs, you should act and take the initiative to control your own future … Some regional countries behave like the enemies of their own people," he said.
Letter from Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Mark Heinrich