DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The star of a live television interview in Iran's new nuclear workshop wasn't the head of the country's atomic agency, but three centrifuges labeled in English in the background, advanced devices Tehran is prohibited from using by the nuclear deal with world powers. The placement of the centrifuges, identified as IR-2M, IR-4 and IR-6, may have served as a subtle warning to Europe as it tries to salvage the atomic accord after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from it and restore U.S. sanctions. In recent days Iranian officials from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on down have vowed to boost the country's uranium enrichment capacity. The moves they have outlined would not violate the 2015 nuclear accord, but would allow Iran to quickly ramp up enrichment if the agreement unravels. "I think they've been quite clear in saying that if the U.S. pulls out and the EU doesn't live up to its side of the deal, it will rapidly increase its enrichment capacity," said Ian Stewart, the head of a nuclear proliferation study called Project Alpha at King's College London.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the top secret documents Israel claims to have obtained on Iran's nuclear programme show Tehran has lied. Mr Pompeo said the information indicates that a nuclear deal signed between Iran and six world powers in 2015 was not built on good faith. President Trump has long signalled his desire to abandon the deal and is due to make a decision in the coming weeks. Iran has described the documents as a "rehash of old allegations". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Iran of conducting a secret nuclear weapons programme, dubbed Project Amad, and said it had continued to pursue nuclear weapons knowledge after the project was shuttered in 2003.
Michael Cohen leaves court in Manhattan on Monday April 16, 2018.Go Nakamura/ZUMA Wire At a meeting in Miami on April 5, Franklin Haney, the owner of an inoperative nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Alabama, sought a major investment for his facility, according to two sources familiar with the gathering. His target, the sources say, was Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Qatar's minister of economy and commerce and deputy chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, the $300 billion sovereign wealth fund of the natural gas-rich Persian Gulf state. Also at the meeting, according to the sources, was Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer. Now, as the Trump scandal expands to include Cohen's business deals and possible interactions between Trump associates and officials of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, any relationship between Cohen and Qatar would likely be of interest to federal investigators. Last week, Foreign Policy reported that Cohen met with Al Thani in Florida that same week on the sidelines of the Qatar-US Economic Forum but noted that its sources would not say what was discussed at the meeting between Cohen and Al Thani.
President Donald Trump and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani take part in a bilateral meeting in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Here's a new scandal for Donald Trump: The president personally encouraged the Qatari government to finance a nuclear power plant project pursued by a top Trump donor. And shortly after Trump's intervention, this big-money donor, Franklin Haney, a Memphis-based real estate developer who contributed $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee, hired Michael Cohen, the president's longtime personal lawyer, to help land this Qatari investment. This wheeling and dealing was occurring as the Gulf nation was eagerly seeking to gain influence with Trump. It's a tale of how the Trump swamp works: Trump's personal and political connections overlap with private business interests that are linked to foreign policy matters. This episode, described by Haney this week to a local newspaper, places Trump in the midst of a highly controversial deal and suggests that Trump used his power to benefit the private business venture of a major donor.