Iran warns it will breach limits on uranium stockpile within 10 days
Iran said on Monday it would breach limits on its uranium stockpile that were agreed in its landmark nuclear deal within 10 days as it increases its atomic activity.
A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran told reporters that the country’s low-enriched uranium production had increased fourfold and its stockpile would pass a 300kg limit by June 27.
If it does pass the limit, it would be the first time Iran has breached the nuclear accord it signed with world powers in 2015.
“We have quadrupled production of uranium. The countdown has begun as of today and Iran will surpass the ceiling of 300kg within the next 10 days on June 27,” said the spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi.
He said other signatories to the deal still had time to save the accord, but the move is likely to increase tensions and complicate European efforts to save the agreement.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, said on May 8 that Tehran would no longer comply with important elements of the agreement unless the deal’s other signatories — Germany, the UK, France, Russia and China — came up with concrete steps to counter the impact of US sanctions within 60 days.
He made the announcement on the anniversary of US president Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw the US from the accord.
The components of the deal that Tehran has said it would no longer comply with include sending heavy water to other countries and exchanging enriched uranium for natural uranium. Iranian officials have said they were rendered “meaningless” after Mr Trump this month removed sanctions waivers that allowed Tehran to ship the materials to other nations.
Iran has also said that if its demands were not met, it would halt the modernisation of its Arak plant, a process that was supposed to reduce the amount of plutonium it produces.
The decisions come as Washington has ramped up the pressure on Iran by deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and other military assets to the region. Mr Trump has also removed waivers on oil sanctions to all Iran’s customers, as he vows to reduce the country’s crude exports to zero.
US officials have accused Iran of being behind the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. They have said they also suspect the Islamic republic was involved in sabotage attacks on four tankers last month.
Under the terms of the agreement, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activity in return for the economic benefit of having many sanctions lifted.
The International Atomic Energy Agency declined to comment.