In the first major breach of the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran announced Monday that it has surpassed the uranium enrichment limit set by the agreement, making good on the country’s warning over the weekend.
The state terror sponsor boosted uranium enrichment to upwards of 4.5 percent, exceeding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s 3.67 percent limit but still falling far short of the 90 percent required to construct a nuclear weapon. However, Iran warned that it sees no impediments to increasing enrichment further as well flouting other stipulations of the deal.
“For now, we don’t need 20 percent,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Monday. “But if we do, since we have already exceeded 3.67 percent, we have no limitations or obstacles to do so.”
“There is the 20 percent option and there are options even higher than that but each in its own place,” said Kamalvandi, according to state media.
Iran has moved steadily away from the requirements of the nuclear deal since May of last year when President Trump pulled out of the agreement, which was signed by the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia and gave Tehran billions of dollars in relief from sanctions in exchange for a promise to curb its nuclear program.
A week ago, Iran defied another term of the deal, exceeding the 660-pound limit on its enriched uranium stockpile.
“Iran better be careful,” Trump said over the weekend. “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.”
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said last month that his country is not currently seeking nuclear weapons, but “America could not do anything” to stop Iran if it decided to produce such weapons.
Last month, Trump called off airstrikes planned as retaliation for Iran’s downing of an unmanned American drone with just minutes to spare. He later cited concerns about the potential casualties, which he said would have been around 150, in justifying the decision.