Iran will reach the stockpile limit of low-level enriched uranium set by the nuclear deal in ten days, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Agency, today.
“After we pass the limit of 300 kilogrammes the pace and speed of enriched uranium production at the lower rate will also increase,” he went on to say.
This comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal last May and re-imposed “unprecedented” economic sanctions on Iran. Under the deal, Iran agreed to limit nuclear activities and allow international inspectors into the country in exchange for the lifting of financial sanctions.
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gave the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal – the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia – an ultimatum: fulfil their promises to protect Iran’s oil and banking sectors from US sanctions in 60 days or Iran would resume high-level enrichment of uranium. He reiterated this ultimatum last week.
The UK responded by warning Iran of “consequences” it would face if it backtracked from the nuclear deal. The EU’s second most senior diplomat affirmed the bloc’s support for the nuclear deal, following a visit to Tehran last week. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expressed concern over Iran’s relaxed compliance with the nuclear deal.
This new move to speed up production of uranium comes at a time of increased tensions between Iran and the US. On Thursday, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway for natural gas and oil, while setting off from oil-rich Arab Gulf countries en route to the Far East. The US, Saudi Arabia and the UK have blamed Iran for the attacks, accusations firmly denied by Tehran.