Iran say it will reach allowed enriched uranium limit in 10 days

Clay Curtis
June 17, 2019

At a news conference at the Arak Nuclear Complex that was carried live Monday on Iranian television, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that stockpile limit could be exceeded within 10 days.

Mojtaba Zolnour, head of parliament's nuclear committee, said Iran would quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) against the spread of nuclear weapons unless European powers saved the separate 2015 atomic deal.

Iran has announced that it will breach the 2015 nuclear agreement in ten days unless European states find a way to get around crippling U.S. sanctions and bolster Iran's faltering economy.

However, Iran has faced unsustainable pressure from crippling new sanctions the Trump administration has subsequently imposed on its ability to sell oil overseas. President Donald Trump called the deal "defective at its core", and accused Tehran of secretly violating its provisions.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the United Kingdom position remained that it was "almost certain that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps attacked the two tankers".

Since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, the USA has again placed strong worldwide economic restrictions on Iran.

Trump's move was heavily criticized by the EU, Russia and China, all signatories of the deal.

The danger, nuclear nonproliferation experts warn, is that at 20% enrichment, only a fraction of atoms need to be removed to enrich up to weapons-grade levels of 90%.

As long as Iran's violation of the deal is enriching uranium at or around the 3.67% level, it will inch closer to a bomb gradually and will not become a threat for some time - debate ranges from six months to two years.

FILE - This 2011 photo shows the heavy water nuclear facility near Arak, Iran.

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A series of more intrusive United Nations inspections under the deal have verified that Iran has been meeting its commitments.

The ultimatum from Tehran is likely to trigger a desperate diplomatic scramble by European powers to save the unravelling nuclear deal and force Britain, France, and Germany to consider what they will do if Iran openly breaks the accord.

Iran has complained that European powers have failed to abide by their commitments to mitigate the effects on its economy of the sanctions that US President Donald Trump reinstated after abandoning the nuclear deal a year ago. Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the US sanctions.

Kamalvandi's comments come in the wake of suspected attacks on oil tankers last week in the region that Washington has blamed on Iran.

Trump has reimposed sanctions against Tehran that had been eased under the nuclear deal, and has especially targeted Iran's banking and all-important energy sector.

Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

However, Kamalvandi said the country could rebuild the facility to make it produce plutonium. They described "flying objects" as having targeted the vessel.

In Brussels on Monday, European Union foreign ministers said they were still looking for more information on who might be behind the incident involving the tankers.

"It is not an easy exercise", Federica Mogherini said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that USA and British intelligence needs to be compared with other information from allies. "The maximum restraint and wisdom should be applied", she said ahead of the monthly foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

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