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Iran says European naval mission in Gulf would be ‘provocative’

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Iran recently seized a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf, further escalating tensions. (File/AFP)

Iran on Sunday slammed as “provocative” a British proposal for a European-led naval mission to escort tankers in the Gulf, amid soaring tensions over the seizure of ships.

“We heard that they intend to send a European fleet to the Arabian Gulf, which naturally carries a hostile message, is provocative and will increase tensions,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

The statements come as the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told lawmakers on Sunday that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the ISNA news agency reported.

ISNA cited a member of parliament who attended the meeting. Heavy water can be employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads.

In May, Iran announced planned measures to breach the nuclear agreement with major world powers following the US withdrawal from the deal and Washington’s reimposition of tough sanctions.

On July 3, President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would increase its uranium enrichment levels and start to revive its Arak heavy water reactor after July 7 if the nations in the nuclear pact did not protect trade with Iran promised under the deal but blocked by the US sanctions.

 

Last Modified: Sunday، 28 July 2019 04:09 PM
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