Iran To Enrich Uranium Beyond Permitted Amount Within ‘Hours’

(TELESUR) – Iran said Sunday it will boost its uranium enrichment in a few hours above a cap set by the 2015 nuclear deal as the European signatories of the deal missed a 60-days deadline to reverse the sanctions by the United States who pulled out from the deal unilaterally earlier this year.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi, Administration spokesman Ali Rabiei, and Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), announced in a joint press conference Sunday in Tehran the news of enriching uranium to a higher purity than 3.67 percent, the limit set in the 2015 agreement.

In a live news conference, the senior Iranian officials said Tehran would keep reducing its commitments every 60 days unless European signatories of the pact protect it from U.S. sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump.

“We are fully prepared to enrich uranium at any level and with any amount,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi. “In a few hours the technical process will come to an end and the enrichment beyond 3.67% will begin.”

“And tomorrow early in the morning, when the IAEA [UN nuclear watchdog] takes the sample we would have gone beyond 3.67 percent,” the AEOI spokesman said.

But the country is willing to show flexibility. All measures taken by Iran to scale back its commitments to the nuclear deal were “reversible” if the European signatories of the pact fulfilled their obligations, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Sunday.

The deal between Iran and six world powers, namely the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia, lifted most international sanctions against Iran in return for restrictions on its nuclear work aimed at extending the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, from roughly 2-3 months to a year.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to enrich uranium to a maximum 3.67 percent which is enough to generate power but far below the weapons-grade level of 90 percent. Iran also maintained that it was never interested in developing a nuclear weapon and that its program was entirely for energy purposes.