Iran has announced that it will breach the limit on its enriched uranium stockpile which was set under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, beginning from June 27.
The country’s Atomic Energy Organization said Iran had quadrupled its production of the material, which is used to make reactor fuel and potentially nuclear weapons.
“Today the countdown to pass the 300 kilograms reserve of enriched uranium has started and in 10 days time we will pass this limit,” spokesman for the agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi told reporters at the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility.
“This is based on the Articles 26 and 36 of the (nuclear deal), and will be reversed once other parties live up to their commitments,” he added.
This latest development comes at a time of high tension in the region, with the US deploying military reinforcements and accusing Iran of being behind suspected attacks that left two oil tankers ablaze on Thursday. Iran denies any involvement.
The 2015 nuclear accord caps the level of purity to which Iran can enrich uranium at 3.67 percent, but Kamalvandi noted that Iran may increase uranium enrichment to up to 20 percent for use in local reactors.
In early May, US President Donald Trump stepped up pressure on Iran by ending exemptions from US secondary sanctions for countries still buying Iranian oil.
Last month, Iran scaled back some commitments under the deal and warned that in 60 days it would resume refining uranium to a higher fissile degree if Europe failed to shield its trade from US sanctions.
Tehran has said it may go even further by July 8 unless remaining partners to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — help it circumvent US sanctions and especially enable it to sell its oil.