Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani issued a recent ultimatum Wednesday over its civilian-use nuclear program, saying the country would on Sunday “take the next step” towards increasing its enrichment of uranium except European powers can find a way to offset the influence of the Trump administration’s sanctions on its economic system.
Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, confirmed Iran passed the limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by exceeding the 300kg (661 kilos) that was set in a landmark 2015 nuclear deal made with world powers. President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of that agreement.
The higher-level enrichment Rouhani mentioned will start July 7 remains to be far off the levels Iran would want to produce weapons-grade nuclear materials, but it narrows the time it would take to make a nuclear bomb – something Iran says it does not wish to do.
Talking during a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani warned that due to the faltering nuclear deal Iran was entitled to extend its enrichment of uranium to “any quantity that we would like, any quantity that’s required.”
Under the present terms of the nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, Iran will not be allowed to enrich uranium above 3.67%, a level that’s enough to operate its nuclear power plants, but falls below weapons-grade ranges of about 90%.
“What does it mean that Iran has technically breached one of the limits of the historic anti-nuclear deal? It’s not a dash to a bomb. They’re a long way away,” Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a San Francisco-headquartered global security foundation, wrote on Twitter on Monday as a part of a lengthy thread that explains how a lot of enriched uranium is required to supply a nuclear bomb.