Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Iran says uranium enrichment passes 45 pct, exceeding deal cap

Iran says uranium enrichment passes 45 pct, exceeding deal cap

On Monday, it was revealed Iran had begun enriching uranium at 4.5 percent purity, well past the 3.67 percent purity allowed under the agreement. The global agreement was meant to restrain the country's nuclear activities.

It was the second time that the two leaders talked by phone about the Iranian issues in the past week. In particular, Iran was obligated to start phasing out its IR-1 centrifuges, used to enrich uranium - a nuclear weapons component - over a ten-year period.

The US has sent thousands of troops, an aircraft carrier, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets to the Middle East.

On Sunday, Iranian authorities announced that the country's enrichment of uranium would surpass 3.6 percent "in a few hours", and promised to reduce the nation's commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), every 60 days, if the issue is not resolved.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump Administration has "implemented the strongest pressure campaign in history against the Iranian regime", and is still "not done".

"This measure is a very risky step, and I call on my friends, leaders of France, Britain, Germany: You signed the deal and said the moment they'd take this measure, harsh sanctions would be imposed", Mr Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

Tehran argued that its steps were permitted under the deal as a response to the USA non-compliance. Iran also assumed commitments not to build additional heavy water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to engage in developing nuclear charges.

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The spokesman said the 20% enrichment is one of the third phase of Iran scaling down its commitments under the 2015 deal. "I'm asking you, not to provoke but out of joint knowledge of history and what happens when aggressive totalitarian regimes can cross the threshold toward things that are very unsafe to us all".

The accord took effect in January 2016 and was supposed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran all at once, but its implementation was hampered by the U.S. policies and its eventual withdrawal from the deal.

Under the original agreement, sanctions on Iran were lifted in exchange for its nuclear program to be curbed. The U.S. has accused Iran of involvement in the bombing of oil tankers in the Gulf, and says it shot down an American drone in global airspace.

"Iran has stated that it wants to remain within the JCPoA".

Pence said in a speech Monday to a pro-Israel Christian organization in Washington that the USA will "never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon".

Trump warned Tehran on Sunday that "Iran better be careful". France, Germany and Britain - the European partners of the global deal - on Sunday urged Tehran to halt its advance towards breaching the cap. However, Iran's recent activities make even that attempt unlikely to succeed. UK's unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian piracy, pure and simple. George Grow was the editor. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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