Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that his country will begin increasing its stockpile of enriched to uranium, unconstrained by the limitations imposed under the 2015 nuclear treaty, unless the treaty’s remaining European signatories move to shield it from the devastating effects of U.S. sanctions.
“Our enrichment rate is not going to be 3.67 percent anymore,” Rouhani said during a broadcast on state media. “It’s going to be as much as we want it to be.”
The ultimatum comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Monday that Iran had exceeded the 660 pound limit for low-enriched uranium mandated by the 2015 international nuclear treaty, which President Trump pulled out of as one of his first acts in office.
While the regime’s stockpile of high-enriched uranium remains well below the level required to build a nuclear weapon, its decision to press forward with enrichment reduces the so-called breakout time required to breach that threshold.
In his address Wednesday, Rouhani accused President Trump of sending contradictory signals on the importance of his continued compliance with the 2015 treaty.
“It’s interesting that until today the U.S. was referring to the JCPOA as a bad agreement, but now that Iran has decided to distance itself from this ‘bad agreement’ their shouts and cries are spread all over the world,” Rouhani said.
The deal is either “good or bad,” he added. “If its good, everyone should comply to their commitments,” he said. “Comparing your level of commitment to ours, how do you even allow yourselves to object?”
The deal’s remaining European signatories have established an alternative trading system to subvert the escalating U.S. sanctions that have deprived the regime of access to all oil export revenue. But Rouhani and fellow officials maintain that the Instex trading system is insufficient.