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Top Iran MP warns US Congress against new sanctions

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The first vice speaker of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) has warned that Tehran will scale up its nuclear program should Capitol Hill impose further sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its civilian atomic work.

“If the US Congress makes the slightest move to ratchet up sanctions [against Iran], Majlis will instruct the government to take measures to further advance its nuclear objectives and [increase] uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes as much as needed by the country,” Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard told reporters on Thursday.

He said that Majlis has so far worked out the necessary strategies, advising Washington to “learn lessons” from its experience over the past few years.

Following the referral of Iran’s nuclear case to the UN Security Council a decade ago, Aboutorabi-Fard said, Majlis tasked the government with pressing ahead with the country’s nuclear program, adding that the Arak heavy water reactor, 19,000 centrifuges and the Fordo nuclear facility are among the achievements made by the country.

The Iranian official’s remarks came after the US Senate Committee on Banking on Thursday 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 the US Congress would spoil the ongoing talks.

Obama has also threatened to veto further sanctions.

Earlier this month, spokesman for the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Iran’s Majlis, Seyyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, said that legislators are working on a motion under which the government would be obliged to step up uranium enrichment using new-generation centrifuges.

He said that the move is in reaction to recent announcements by US lawmakers that Congress mulls more sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

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