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Iran Officially Begins Unlimited Production of Enriched Uranium, Heavy Water

Iran has officially ended its compliance with several commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord, an informed official in the country’s atomic energy body told local media channels on Wednesday.

The source from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran told the semi-official ISNA news agency that the country has stopped “programs related to compliance with the ceiling for production of enriched uranium as well as the unlimited production of heavy water at the Arak facility.”

Under the nuclear accord, Iran had limits imposed on the quantities of uranium and heavy water it can produce, set at 300 kilograms and 130 tonnes, respectively. Moving forward, the official said, the Islamic Republic will no longer adhere to limitations regarding the production of enriched uranium and heavy water.

However, the official insisted that the change in policy doesn’t violate the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran notified China, Russia, France, Germany, and Britain of its decision to scrap some commitments under the nuclear accord, a year after the United States withdrew from the agreement and re-imposed sanctions.

On May 8, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned world powers that unless they shield the country’s collapsing economy from crippling U.S. sanctions within 60 days, Iran would start enriching uranium at higher levels.

“If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitments according to the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said.

While EU foreign ministers insisted that they were still committed to the nuclear deal, they rejected any ultimatums from Tehran. The U.S. imposed further sanctions on Iran following those threats, this time on the country’s metals industry.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal. On Wednesday, Iran’s Minister of Defense, Ami Hatami, vowed that the country will “defeat the American-Zionist front,” referring to the United States and Israel.

[Photo: Nanking 2010 / Wikimedia Commons]