Iran's President Vows To Continue Nuclear Activities
By RFE/RL April 09, 2022
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran will continue nuclear development activities as talks to revive Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers remain stalled.
Speaking on April 9 at a ceremony marking Iran's National Day of Nuclear Technology, the hard-line president said his administration will support an acceleration in research of peaceful nuclear technology.
"Our knowledge and technology in the nuclear field is not reversible. Iran's (continuation of) research in peaceful nuclear fields will not depend on others' demands or viewpoints," said Raisi, who came to power in August 2021.
Raisi's comments came as talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled.
The nuclear deal collapsed four years ago when former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States and imposed crushing sanctions on Iran. In the meantime, Iran has vastly expanded its nuclear work.
Iran has long denied it has tried to secretly develop nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, said on April 9 that Iran will soon begin construction of a new nuclear power plant near the town of Darkhovin in oil-rich Khuzestan Province in the country's southwest.
The plant was supposed to be built before the 1979 Islamic Revolution with help from France but the project was halted in its initial phase. The site became a major battlefield in the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that began in 1980.
Iran's sole nuclear power plant went online in 2011 with help from Russia in the southern port city of Bushehr.
In related news, Iran announced that it had imposed symbolic sanctions on more U.S. officials over their roles in harming Iran, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 9.
The 16-person list included George William Casey, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq; former CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel; former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan Austin Scott Miller; U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, and other U.S. officials from the former Trump administration.
From time to time, Iran adds to a long list of sanctioned Americans.
In January, Iran placed sanctions on more than 50 Americans for their alleged roles in killing a top Iranian general in Iraq in 2020. In 2021 Iran imposed sanctions on Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and eight others.
The sanctions ban the targeted persons from travel to Iran and possible confiscation of their assets in Iran. They are seen as symbolic as the Americans don't have any assets in Iran.
With reporting by AFP and AP
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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