TEHRAN: Iran said Monday it will surpass from June 27 its uranium stockpile limit set under the nuclear deal with world powers, turning up the pressure after the US walked away from the landmark pact last year, reports AFP.
“Today the countdown to pass the 300 kilograms reserve of enriched uranium has started and in 10 days time... we will pass this limit,” Iran’s atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told a new conference broadcast live on state television.The move “will be reversed once other parties live up to their commitments,” he added, speaking from the Arak nuclear plant southwest of Tehran.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to immediately hit Iran with “snapback sanctions” should it violate the deal by surpassing the uranium stockpile limit set in the deal.
On May 8, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would stop observing restrictions on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Rouhani said the move was in retaliation for the unilateral US withdrawal from the accord a year earlier, which saw Washington impose tough economic sanctions on Tehran.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated ever since, with the United States bolstering its military presence in the region and blacklisting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.
The United States has also blamed Iran for last week’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a charge Tehran has denied as “baseless”.Iran has threatened to go even further in scaling down nuclear commitments by July 8 unless remaining partners to the deal—Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—help it circumvent US sanctions and especially enable it to sell its oil.
“The current situation is sensitive” and there is still time for the deal’s partners to save this agreement, Rouhani told the French ambassador to Tehran Philippe Thiebaud on Monday.
“The collapse of the JCPOA is undoubtedly not in the interest of Iran... the region and the world,” he added, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.
Under the agreement, Iran pledged to reduce its nuclear capacities for several years and allow international inspectors inside the country to monitor its activities in return for relief from international sanctions.