Iran to expand N-program if US pursues bans: Baeidinejad

Hamid Baeidinejad, the director general for political and international security affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry

A senior Iranian official has warned that Tehran will increase the number of its uranium enrichment centrifuges should the United States introduce further sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its civilian nuclear activities.

“Naturally, it is a source of concern for everyone. It is a return to a situation from which no one is going to benefit. Iran will certainly go ahead with its nuclear program [in case of new US sanctions]. We are going to install more centrifuges," Hamid Baeidinejad, the director general for political and international security affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, told a news conference at the Iranian embassy in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Wednesday.

The Iranian official’s remarks came after the US Senate Committee on Banking on January 29 approved a bill that would endorse further sanctions against Iran if nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 group of world powers fail to lead to an agreement by a self-imposed deadline.

This comes as the US President Barack Obama administration has warned that the new Iran sanctions proposed by US Congress would spoil the ongoing talks. Obama has also threatened to veto further sanctions.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iranian lawmakers passed a motion calling on the government to resume all nuclear activities if US imposes new sanctions on Tehran.

Iran nuclear talks

Baeidinejad, who is a top Iranian nuclear negotiator, also said that negotiations between Tehran and the six world powers on Tehran’s nuclear energy program have reached an important and sensitive stage.

“At this point, we have decided to expand cooperation with Russia,” he said.

Iran and the P5+1 group -- Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany -- have been holding talks to secure a final comprehensive deal over Tehran's nuclear work.

Since an interim deal was agreed in the Swiss city of Geneva in November 2013, the negotiating sides have missed two self-imposed deadlines to ink a final agreement.

Iran and the P5+1 countries now seek to reach a high-level political agreement by March 1 and to confirm the full technical details of the accord by July 1.



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