Iranian politician Alireza Zakani, head of the Majles Research Center said in the wake of the April 11 blast in the Natanz nuclear facility that Iran must increase uranium enrichment to more than 60%. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Ofogh TV (Iran) on April 12, 2021. Zakani said that Iran needs uranium enriched to 56% in order to fuel the propellants in submarines and for "other purposes." He also said that uranium enrichment to more than 60% is what increases Iran’s bargaining ability and it is also what Iran needs. Zakani said that the 20% enrichment in Fordow can be quickly directed in a way that would be "tangible" to the West. He stated: they will realize that they cannot toy with us. He said that Iran has become a "haven for spies," and the fact that Obama had agreed to pay $1.7 billion in exchange for the release of American journalist Jason Rezaian is a message to "all other spies" that their price is high and they should betray their country. Rezaian, an Iranian-American journalist, was imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges. For more about Alireza Zakani, see MEMRITV clips Nos. 8519, and 7253.
Alireza Zakani: "In my view, [the Natanz blast] constitutes an indivisible part of the Vienna negotiations.
"Some of our statesmen thought in the past – and some still think – that America is not Trump and that Biden is different from Trump. The least of what Biden wants to do is the most of what Obama did against us, and Biden's maximum seems to be what Trump did and won't be any less. Therefore, they are two sides of the same coin: Trump, his predecessor Obama, and his successor Biden. Democrats and Republicans are both sides of the same coin.
"I believe that we can take some serious actions [in retaliation]."
Interviewer: "Can you be more specific?"
Alireza Zakani: "Yes, yes. First of all, we must raise our uranium enrichment to more than 60%. As fuel for nuclear propellants in our submarines and for other purposes, we definitely need fuel enriched to 56%. What is happening now in Fordow for 20% enriched fuel can be quickly turned in a direction that will be tangible [to the West], and no matter how much pressure they exert on us, we will not surrender."
Interviewer: "Will the Atomic Energy Organization abide by such a decision by the current government?"
Alireza Zakani: "It cannot refrain from obeying.
"What is needed, like I said, is 56% enriched uranium. We will go in that direction in a very transparent way, and they will realize that they cannot toy with us. The second point is that the incidents that take place... Within a few months, it happened twice in Natanz. Some equipment of ours with very high capabilities broke down and was transferred abroad in order to be fixed. Then [the enemy] planted 300 pounds of explosives in this equipment, and it was brought back to Iran, and our security system failed to notice this. Shouldn't this make us more sensitive? Something happened to the electric system yesterday, and a significant part of our enrichment capabilities was destroyed. Shouldn't this make us more sensitive? In principle, this country has become a paradise for spies.
"Look at the Jason Rezaian [case]. When the question of his release was raised, Obama agreed to pay Iran $1.7 billion in four installments as part of the deal. Is one person worth so much money? Of course not. So what made it worth it for them? It was a message to all the other spies and agents: No matter how insignificant you are, we are ready to pay a price for you. Your price is high so go ahead and betray [your country]. The targeting of the great martyr Fakhrizadeh – is that something to scoff at in this country? The planting of explosives in a table used for work with sensitive equipment in Natanz, and then infiltrating deep into the systems and messing with the electricity system, so that in one blow, tens of thousands of our centrifuges were hit and destroyed – is that something to scoff at? It is not. You need to go back and see... There is a line that goes back... We need to realize that what increases our bargaining ability is the scope and level of our enrichment. This is in our hands. This is also something that we need."