Iran has announced it will begin enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent limit set in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
The move on Sunday is part of an effort to press Europe to save the accord after the United States pulled out and reimposed punishing economic sanctions.
“We are going to pass the 3.67 percent enrichment limit today,” Ali Rabei, spokesperson for Iran’s government, told reporters in Tehran.
Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, said Iran was taking the new step because of the pact’s remaining signatories failure to help Tehran sell its oil. He said Iran will announce a scale back of other commitments in 60 days if there was no further progress.
“This is to protect the nuclear deal, not to nullify it,” he said. “This is an opportunity for talks. And if our partners fail to use this opportunity they should not doubt our determination to leave the deal.”
Under the accord, Iran agreed to enrich uranium to no more than 3.67 percent, which is enough for power generation, but far below weapons-grade levels of 90 percent. Iran denies it seeks nuclear weapons, but the nuclear deal sought to prevent that as a possibility by limiting enrichment and Iran’s stockpile of uranium to 300 kg.
On Monday, Iran and United Nations inspectors acknowledged it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than the stockpile limit permitted under the nuclear deal.
More soon …