- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2014

Iran’s top negotiator said nuclear enrichment can begin within 24 hours if the nation’s leaders take issue with the political process in Washington.

“We can return again to 20 percent enrichment in less than one day and we can convert the [nuclear] material again. Therefore the structure of our nuclear program is preserved,” Abbas Araghchi told an Iranian audience in a Jan. 12 broadcast independently translated for The Daily Beast.

“Whenever we feel the other side is not following through with its commitments, whenever we feel there are other motives involved, whenever — now, say, under pressure from Congress or something else — they take action against their commitments, say put in place new sanctions, we will immediately revert to the current status quo,” he said. “And we will again continue our nuclear program in the form that it is today.”

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment.

“I can say definitively that the structure of our nuclear program will be exactly preserved,” Mr. Araghchi said. “Nothing will be put aside, dismantled or halted. Everything will continue, enrichment will continue.”

The U.S. Senate is currently mulling an Iranian sanctions bill sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, and Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, that would penalize the Middle Eastern nation if it violated the current deal hammered out by the U.S. and the international community.

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