Iran says it has exceeded uranium limits set in nuclear deal .
Technicians work in a uranium conversion facility near Tehran, Iran.Getty Images
Iran has exceeded the limits for its enriched uranium stockpile set in a 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers, the country’s state media reported Monday.
A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization announced earlier this month that Tehran would surpass the nuclear deal’s 300-kilogram (661-pound) limit if the countries still participating in the nuclear accord did not negotiate new terms.
It comes after President Trump last year withdrew the US from the deal the Obama administration brokered with Iran and Britain, Germany, France, the European Union, Russia and China and reimposed crippling sanctions intended to force Tehran back to the negotiating table.
“Iran will never yield to pressure from the United States. … If they want to talk to Iran, they should show respect,” Zarif said in a speech broadcast on state TV. “Never threaten an Iranian. … Iran has always resisted pressure, and has responded with respect when respected.”
But Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said any steps taken so far are “reversible.”
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said it is trying to determine if Iran has breached the agreement.
“We are aware of the media reports related to Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU),” an International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman said. “Our inspectors are on the ground and they will report to headquarters as soon as the LEU stockpile has been verified.”
Iran’s surpassing of the limits comes at a tense time between Tehran and Washington.
The Trump administration has also deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group, jet fighters, B-52 bombers, Patriot anti-missile defenses and additional troops to the region to counter Iran’s actions.
Washington also said Iran was behind an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in an effort to disrupt international shipping.