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Iran’s FM Zarif Confirms Enriched Uranium Limit Now Breached

Iran’s FM Zarif Confirms Enriched Uranium Limit Now Breached 

It what appears to be the first known violation of the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), Iran’s stockpiles of enriched low-grade uranium have surpassed the limit of 300 kg, Iran’s semi-official Fars News is reporting.

Fars noted further that the International Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed the stockpile measurement on Monday, after in May it had already quadrupled its production of the material, the key component to make nuclear reactor fuel – and potentially nuclear weapons. Following the Fars report which had been based on an unnamed “informed source,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was the first government official to confirm the country has exceeded the ceiling of 300kg, according to Iran’s ISNA.

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. Image source: Getty

Iran’s leaders warned in the past days and weeks that it was on track to surpass the agreed upon enriched uranium limit set by the JCPOA in reaction to President Trump’s reimposed sanctions, as well as the inability of remaining signatories to deliver on their terms of the deal, which the US unilaterally pulled out of in May 2018.

The Fars report announcing the breach of the nuclear deal limits specifically cited European partners as lagging behind commitments to shield Iran from Washington sanctions, despite the new Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) going live just days ago

“For Europeans, there is still time, but if they are asking for more time, it means that whether they are incompetent or they are unwilling to deliver on their commitments,” an official with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) was cited as saying in the Fars report. 

Zarif also called INSTEX – which was officially launched by Europe as a SWIFT alternative on Friday – a “preliminary step” of the European members of the nuclear deal which only “partially delivers” on their commitments. 

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“The Countdown Has Begun:” Iran Warns It Will Breach Uranium Stockpile Limits In 10 Days

“The Countdown Has Begun:” Iran Warns It Will Breach Uranium Stockpile Limits In 10 Days 

Iran certainly isn’t planning on backing down in the face of Washington’s accusations about the country’s role in last week’s tanker bombings, and as a result, the possibility of a boots-on-the-ground military conflict in the Islamic Republic cannot yet be ruled out. Making an already tense situation infinitely more precarious, Iran on Monday reminded the world that it’s preparing to violate the terms of the Iran deal during the next ten days.

Iran

By increasing its stockpiles of enriched uranium, Iran is bound to elicit accusations that it’s once again working on a nuclear bomb. Tehran has always maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but American neocons like John Bolton have warned that this was merely a ruse, and that Iran could target American allies like Israel with a missile.

The Iranian government announced on Monday that it was set to breach the cap on enriched uranium, unless Europe finds a way to trade with Iran, or otherwise fulfill its financial obligations made under the deal.

European officials have been somewhat more skeptical of Iran’s role in last week’s tanker attacks, though many have acknowledged that if this were to be true, it could seriously complicate efforts to preserve the nuclear deal. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who visited Tehran last week, said Germany is still looking at evidence on whether Iran was responsible for last week’s attacks. Meanwhile, the UK has decided to deploy 100 Elite Royal Marines to the region to serve as a “rapid reaction force” to protect British assets.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for the Iranian atomic energy agency, said Iran has “already increased” uranium production at a nuclear research site in Natanz in the central Isfahan province, according to RT.

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