Government Announces Enrichment Breach Over Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran has announced it will break a limit set on uranium enrichment, in breach of the landmark 2015 deal designed to curb its nuclear ambitions.

Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said Iran still needed to salvage the deal but blamed European countries for failing to live up to their own commitments.

The United States of America unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

It has since reimposed tight sanctions affecting the Iranian economy.

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Responding to the latest announcement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it would only lead to “further isolation and sanctions” for the nation.

In May, Iran announced it would step up its production of enriched uranium, which can be used to make fuel for reactors but also for nuclear weapons.

The country has already stockpiled more enriched uranium than permitted under the terms of the deal.

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Iran has strongly denied that it has any intention of building nuclear weapons.

On the anniversary of the US withdrawal, Iran gave a 60-day deadline to the remaining signatories of the deal – China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK – to protect it from US sanctions.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday at the end of that deadline, Mr Araqchi said Iran would start enriching uranium above a concentration of 3.67% within a few hours.

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Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that the steps were “reversible” if European countries delivered on their commitments.

A spokesman for the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said their inspectors would report back to headquarters “as soon as they verify the announced development”.

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