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Iran to break stockpile limit set by nuclear deal

Middle East | 2019-06-17 16:26:36
Iran to break stockpile limit set by nuclear deal
A spokesman for Iran's atomic agency says the country will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days.

Behrouz Kamalvandi made the comment in a news conference carried live on Iranian state television Monday.

He says that increase will "based on the country's needs” and could be to any level, from 3.67 percent, which is the current limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

This is based on the Articles 26 and 36 of the [nuclear deal], and will be reversed once other parties live up to their commitments," Kamalvandi added, speaking from the Arak nuclear plant south-west of Tehran.

He acknowledged that the country already quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium.

Following the announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers to step up sanctions against Iran swiftly should it go through with a plan to exceed the enriched uranium limit set by the nuclear deal.

"Should Iran deliver on its threats, the international community will have to implement, immediately, the pre-set sanctions mechanism," Israeli media quoted Netanyahu as saying in a speech

On May 8, President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran would stop observing restrictions on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

He said the move was in retaliation for the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the accord a year earlier, which saw Washington impose tough economic sanctions on Tehran.

Iran has threatened to go even further by July 8 unless remaining partners to the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - help it circumvent U.S. sanctions and especially enable it to sell its oil.

Under the agreement, Iran pledged to reduce its nuclear capacities for several years and allow international inspectors inside the country to monitor its activities in return for relief from international sanctions.

The deal set a limit on the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges, and restricted its right to enrich uranium to no higher than 3.67 percent, well below weapons-grade levels of around 90 percent.

It also called on Iran to export enriched uranium and heavy water to ensure that the country's reserves would stay within the production ceiling set by the agreement, yet recent US restrictions have made such exports virtually impossible.

Kamalvandi’s comments come in the wake of suspected attacks on oil tankers last week in the region that Washington has blamed on Iran and amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S., a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America for the nuclear deal.

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