Iran has stepped up its uranium enrichment, surpassing curbs set in a landmark accord in response to what it sees as Europe’s failure to fulfil its obligations under the agreement.
A week after it exceeded a cap on its stockpile of low-grade uranium, Iran will resume purifying uranium beyond the 3.67% allowed under the 2015 agreement, the government’s spokesman, Ali Rabiee, said in Tehran on Sunday.
The moves have created a challenge for European nations who helped negotiate the deal but are struggling to deliver the economic relief from American curbs that Iran had demanded by July 7. European leaders have signalled they won’t rush to slap penalties on Iran, but they’ll find it increasingly hard to resist pressure from the Trump administration if the country abandons multiple commitments.
The US withdrew from the deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s economy and leaders, prompting Tehran to scale back compliance and fuelling concerns that the region was sliding toward war.
Some of the recent American sanctions on Iran have been designed to prevent it from fully complying with the terms of the nuclear deal and end uranium enrichment altogether.
In May, the US ended waivers allowing Iran to export excess levels of heavy water and exchange extra amounts of enriched uranium for raw uranium or yellow cake - actions required of Iran by the terms of the accord.
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