Nuclear experts said Monday that Iran has quadrupled its uranium enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran’s illicit nuclear and non-nuclear activities. This means the Islamic Republic could quickly exceed the stockpile limit set under the 2015 nuclear accord.
While Iranian officials stressed that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67 percent limit, a quadrupling of production would mean that Iran will soon exceed the stockpile limitation of 300 kilograms set by the agreement.
Earlier this month, the mullah regime announced a July 7 deadline for European countries to shield Iran from crippling U.S. sanctions or risk the production of enriched uranium closer to weapons-grade 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,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
In a statement, European foreign ministers rejected any ultimatum from Tehran and vowed that Europe would not be blackmailed into accepting terms set by Tehran.
Iranian officials said that the country had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, of its decision. The IAEA did not immediately respond for comment.
The IAEA, which was charged with verifying Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord, has repeatedly been accused of failing to establish a full picture of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The atomic agency took a skeptical approach to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations at the United Nations General Assembly that Iran had a nuclear warehouse in Tehran and gave no indication that it would investigate the Israeli claims further.
The IAEA had previously failed to investigate the nuclear archives that Israel had smuggled out of Iran in January, even though the recovered documents and files contained details unknown to international inspectors.
[Photo: Nanking 2010 / Wikimedia Commons]