Iran on Monday started enriching uranium beyond the limit of 3.67 percent, outlined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said.
“Today we surpassed 3.67 percent [enrichment limit]”, Kamalvandi said, as quoted by the IRNA news agency. “We do not need 20 percent [enriched] fuel now, but we will produce it if we want to. There are no obstacles and problems”.
The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation also noted that the country could bring uranium enrichment up to 20 percent as the third step in reducing its obligations under the nuclear deal. According to him, the issue has already been discussed during sessions of the Supreme National Security Council.
Kamalvandi said increasing the number of centrifuges is an option for Iran’s third step in reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal, noting that restarting IR-2 and IR-2 M centrifuges is an option.
The remaining European signatories to the nuclear deal, he said, should act quickly to fulfill their promises because Iran will continue reducing its commitments to the deal until it achieves a result.
China said “unilateral bullying” by the United States was the cause behind Iran’s measures.
“The facts show that unilateral bullying has already become a worsening tumor,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a press briefing in Beijing Monday.
The US withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and began reimposing sanctions on Iran in August 2018, targeting crucial sectors including oil exports and the banking system.
“The maximum pressure exerted by the US on Iran is the root cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis,” Geng said.
The 2015 deal was reached between Iran and six world power– Britain, China, France, Germany, the United States and Russia — and saw Tehran agree to drastically scale down its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
France, Germany and Britain — the remaining Europeans partners of the international deal — have urged Tehran to halt its advance towards higher enrichment and warned the country of unspecified consequences.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned European countries on Monday against any “strange” response to its move.
If European parties to the agreement “do certain strange acts then we would skip all the next steps (in the plan to scale back commitments) and implement the last one,” he told a regular news conference in Tehran.
Asked if Tehran could withdraw entirely from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is called, Mousavi said “all the options” are possible but “no decision has been taken”.
Source: Iranian Agencies