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8 Jul, 2019 08:36

Iran exceeds uranium enrichment level set by nuclear deal as Europe fails to resist US sanctions

Iran exceeds uranium enrichment level set by nuclear deal as Europe fails to resist US sanctions

Iran has officially surpassed the 3.67% uranium enrichment limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal, Reuters has reported, citing a spokesman for the country's nuclear agency.

Behrouz Kamalvandi said that Iran's new level of uranium enrichment was at 4.5%, and that Tehran would consider increasing this figure to 20% as a future measure if Europe continues to neglect its commitments under the JCPOA. He urged the deal’s European signatories to act quickly before Iran took further steps to pull out from the accord.

Tehran announced on Sunday that it would exceed the cap mandated by the accord, warning it would further scale down its commitments under the deal if its European partners failed to honor the agreement. Under deal, known as the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities and to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities, in exchange for sanctions relief.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has argued that Iran is fully within its rights to increase its uranium enrichment, noting that a dispute resolution mechanism contained in the JCPOA allows Tehran to “cease performing its commitments” if the Islamic Republic believes any of the other signatories have failed to uphold their own side of the deal.

Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said in a separate statement said that Washington had prevented Tehran from benefitting from its full compliance with the deal. He blamed the United States for creating an “unsafe atmosphere for Iranian economic and political relations,” according to IRNA news agency.

Washington unilaterally withdrew from the accord last year and reimposed sanctions which placed restrictions on anyone who trades with Iran, scaring off investors. Tehran for its part criticized the EU for turning its back on investment projects aimed at boosting the Iranian economy.

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