General Mohammad Ismail Kothari, a parliamentary deputy for Tehran, threatened Thursday that his country could increase uranium enrichment from 60 percent to 93 percent purity, which is deemed “weapons’ grade” if the other parties continued to delay the revival of the nuclear agreement.

State-run ISNA news agency quoted Kothari as saying that Iran had the ability to raise uranium enrichment from 60 percent to 93 percent; which is deemed a nuclear bomb, adding: “Although we are not pursuing this case; if the other party is late, we have the ability to do that.”

“Now they are the ones who need us,” he remarked.

After 16 months of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said on Aug. 8 that the EU had made a final offer to overcome the impasse on reviving the agreement. Tehran has requested amendments to the text. Washington responded last week to the Iranian comments.

Iran is expected to complete the revision of the US response at the expert level on Friday, before sending the review to the Iranian National Security Council, which makes the nuclear decision under the direct supervision of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, that his country was preparing a response to the parties of the negotiations.”

“Iran is carefully reviewing the text drafted by the European Union. We need stronger guarantees from the other side to reach a permanent agreement,” the minister added in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

In response to this position, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby told reporters: “So I don’t know what guarantees he’s talking about… Although, as I said earlier, we are cautiously optimistic; we are also aware that there are still gaps, and we are trying to bridge these gaps by showing goodwill and negotiating through appropriate channels and not in public.”

Kirby noted that US officials believed that the two sides were closer now than they have been for months.

“We do believe we are closer now than we have been in certain recent weeks and months due in large part to Iran being willing to drop some of their demands that were not related to the deal at all,” he told reporters.

Source » aawsat