Iran raises uranium enrichment level – Israel’s Energy Minister: Tehran marching toward bomb

Iran raises uranium enrichment level in second nuclear deal breach

Iran says it is raising its enrichment of uranium beyond the limit set by its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference on Sunday that “today we will pass” the permitted enrichment level of 3.67 percent, but did not provide details.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to enrich uranium to no more than 3.67 percent, which is enough for power generation but far below weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, in exchange for sanctions relief.

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Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Tehran is breaking out of internationally agreed limitations on its nuclear projects and moving toward a bomb.

“Iran has begun – while it is a moderate rise right now – but it has begun to raise, to break out of the uranium enrichment curbs that were imposed on it,” Steinitz said.

“It means… that it is brushing off the red lines that were agreed and that it has begun its march – a march that is not simple –toward nuclear weaponry,” he added.

Iran on Monday announced its low-enriched uranium stockpile had exceeded limits set in the deal.

The move was a bid to persuade Europe, Russia, and China to follow through on sanctions relief, but the Trump administration responded by saying its “maximum pressure” campaign would remain.

Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, said Iran was taking the new step because of the pact’s remaining signatories failure to help Tehran sell its oil. He said Iran will announce a scale back of other commitments in 60 days if there was no further progress.