WASHINGTON — Iran has exceeded the limit on low-enriched uranium it is allowed to stockpile, and said Sunday it will continue to do so, prompting France and the United Kingdom to warn Tehran it must stick to the treaty.
Iran had given European signatories of the 2015 nuclear accord until Sunday to come up with ways to compensate the economic hit caused by the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty and subsequent economic sanctions.
That has not occurred and Tehran went forward with its threat to break the treaty.
France called Iran’s action a “violation” while London said that Iran had “broken the terms of the JCPOA,” according to news reports on Sunday.
Under the 2015 nuclear accord, often referred to by the acronym JCPOA, Iran was allowed to keep roughly 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. The deal was negotiated by the Obama administration and co-signed by England, Germany, France, China and Russia.
That agreement limits Iran from enriching uranium above 3.67 percent. That level is sufficient for a power plant but far short of the amount needed for nuclear weapons.
The Trump administration pulled the United States from the treaty in May 2018.
“On July 7, the level of enrichment in Iran will not be 3.67 percent anymore, as we will abandon such commitment and increase it to any amount that we require and need,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a Cabinet meeting, according to Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency.
European nations have been trying to create a way to provide Iran the economic benefits from the deal by constructing a path for their businesses to continue trading without facing U.S. sanctions.
On Sunday, President Trump warned Iran not to move toward nuclear weapons production.
“Because you enrich for one reason and I won’t tell you what the reason is. But it’s no good they better be careful,” Trump said before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey, according to news reports.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Sunday its inspectors will verify Iran’s announcement to increase the level of uranium enrichment, the agency said Sunday, according to news reports.