Iran announced it has surpassed uranium enrichment levels set by the 2015 nuclear deal but did not specify how much more the enrichment levels would rise, according to several reports.
The announcement, which was first made on Iran’s state-run news agency, marks a major reversal from the terms set by the 2015 nuclear deal, which promised eased sanctions in exchange for Iran scaling back its nuclear ambitions.
President Trump delivered a strongly worded warning in response to Iran’s announcement:
“Iran better be careful. … Iran is doing a lot of bad things,” Trump said. “Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.”
Iran has said it was inching its program closer toward weapons-grade levels while calling for a diplomatic solution to a crisis that has raised tensions with the U.S.
Iran’s latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions. Nations should restore the longstanding standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 7, 2019
Iranian officials while announcing the new level of uranium enrichment did not provide the percentage they planned to hit. Under the nuclear deal, the cap for enrichment was set at 3.67 percent, a percentage closely monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.
“Within hours, the technical tasks will be done and enrichment above 3.67 percent will begin,” Iran nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. “We predict that the IAEA measurements early tomorrow morning will show that we have gone beyond 3.67 percent.”
International reaction to Iran’s decision came quickly, with Germany saying it was “extremely concerned,” and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, a longtime critic of the accord, urging world powers to impose so-called “snapback sanctions” on Tehran.
The European Union said parties to the deal were discussing a possible emergency meeting after Iran’s announcement, with EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic saying the bloc was “extremely concerned” about the move.