Iran further breaches nuclear deal, says it can exceed 20% enrichment
“We have started lifting limitations on our Research and Development imposed by the deal … It will include development of more rapid and advanced centrifuges,” Iranian nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told a televised news conference.
The 2015 pact curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions, but has unravelled since the United States pulled out of it last year and acted to strangle Iran’s oil trade to push it into wider security concessions.
Since May, Iran has begun to exceed limits on its nuclear capacity set by the pact in retaliation for U.S. pressure on Iran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile programme and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.
Iran says its measures are reversible if European signatories to the accord manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the reimposition of U.S. sanctions.
The deal capped the level of purity to which Iran can enrich uranium at 3.67 percent – suitable for civilian power generation and far below the 90% threshold of nuclear weapons grade.
U.N. nuclear inspectors reported in July that Iran had cranked up enrichment to 4.5% purity. Kamalvandi said Tehran could now exceed the 20% level, a significant leap towards the critical 90%, “but right now there is no need for that”.
He added, however: “European parties to the deal should know that there is not much time left, and if there is some action to be taken (to rescue the pact), it should be done quickly.”
Read more at: Reuters
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