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Ayatollah Answers American ‘Aggression,’ Asserts Atomic Autonomy Amid Aborted Agreement

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday threatened to ramp up his country’s uranium enrichment effort “to whatever level the nation needs,” going as high as 60% purity. “Iran will not yield to [American and European] aggression. Our stance will not change,” state TV quoted the Islamic Republic’s top man as saying. He also addressed Israeli efforts to thwart Tehran’s nuclear aspirations, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “that international Zionist clown” and boasting that “if we had any such intention, even those more powerful than him wouldn’t be able to stop us.” US State Department spokesman Ned Price brushed off Khamenei’s comments as “hypotheticals” and “posturing.” On Sunday, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency announced a temporary agreement that would allow some inspection by the nuclear watchdog in Iranian facilities, despite Tehran’s recent suspension of snap inspections at undeclared sites. Iran’s step is the latest in a growing list of its recent violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reached in 2015 by Iran and world powers and rejected by then-US President Donald Trump in 2018.