Iran breaches nuclear fuel limit permitted by nuclear accord, UN says


The US Special Representative for Iran on Friday accused Iran of routinely engaging in unsafe behaviour at sea and of attacking commercial shipping in recent weeks. (June 28)

Iran exceeded a limit on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the terms of an international agreement intended to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that it verified that Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched up to 3.67% had exceeded the 300 kilograms (661 pounds) allowed. Until Monday, Iran had officially stuck to those terms. Before the deal, Iran enriched uranium as high as 20%, close to weapons-grade level. 

The move does not immediately cast Iran out of the accord but signals its intention to pressure European signatories to the deal to find a way of salvaging an agreement the Trump administration abandoned in favor of sanctions and threats of military force. 

“If Europeans do what they have to do, our measures are reversible,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. 

Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful, civilian purposes only. That claim has been met with skepticism in world capitals. 

Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China held urgent talks with Iranian officials Friday in Vienna in the hope of persuading Tehran to hold off on exceeding the maximum level of uranium enrichment permitted under the deal. Iran has indicated that it may make a more significant move away from the accord by July 7. 

The GOP-controlled Senate defeated a measure Friday that would have blocked President Donald Trump from launching a military strike against Iran unless he got explicit congressional approval. Iranian forces shot down a U.S. drone last month.

Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen

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