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Ali Khamenei's desire for more uranium enrichment centrifuges is a thinly-veiled bid to gain as many concessions as possible in nuclear negotiations with Western powers, says Soona Samsami of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Writing in The Hill, Ms Samsami wrote: "Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently said in a high-profile speech that Iran has a 'definite need' for tens of thousands of more uranium enrichment centrifuges than it already has. The statement was made ahead of a July 20 deadline for a deal between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

"Detecting indecisiveness among western powers, Khamenei was clearly raising the stakes to gain as many concessions as possible.

"On July 18, both sides agreed to extend the negotiations for another four months, without any clear prospects of an agreement that would serve the objective stated by President Obama: to deny the Iranian regime the ability to develop a nuclear weapon.

"The extended interim agreement requires the United States to ease sanctions on Tehran while granting mullahs access to nearly three billion additional dollars. The cash could be used to fund the regime’s terror network, particularly in Syria and Iraq, and suppress its own population. The number of executions has jumped significantly since the talks started under the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani."

Meanwhile, Iran has no intention of dismantling any of its centrifuges or the Arak heavy water reactor - whose existence was uncovered by the Iranian Resistance - that former senior Obama administration official Robert Einhorn labelled a 'plutonium bomb factory', she wrote.

She added: "Also unclear is the level of access granted to international inspectors for a number of highly sought nuclear sites, documents, and experts. The State Department has made no reference since the extension of the talks to 'possible military dimensions', a pseudonym used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer to the development of a nuclear weapon by Tehran."

She quoted Mrs Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance as saying: "The endless marathon of talks will bear no fruit other than giving this regime the opportunity to engage in further deception.

"The regime must fully implement the UN Security Council resolutions, particularly a complete halt of uranium enrichment, acceptance of the Additional Protocol, and securing of free access to IAEA inspectors to the regime's suspicious nuclear installations and sites."

Ms Samsami added: "Nuclear talks must be coupled with holding the religious dictatorship to account for the flagrant violations of human rights in Iran and the genocides in Syria and Iraq. Nuclear concealment, human rights abuses, and the export of fundamentalism and terrorism are three indispensable attributes of the regime.

"If pressure worked to bring the faltering and loathed regime into the negotiating room, more pressure will be even more effective in thwarting the nuclear threat.

"The US has significant diplomatic or non-military leverage that it has not tapped. Washington can make life miserable for the mullahs and compel them to give up their weapons program by helping to further empower the organized democratic opposition to the Iranian regime.

"The current policy is clearly not working to Washington's favor. A major shift in US policy on Iran is long overdue. Without it, a nuclear-armed Iran seems almost inevitable."

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