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Iran just exceeded its uranium stockpile limit – and plans to keep breaking nuke deal terms

Ali Khamenei with the Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij - Mashhad. ( Commons)
July 01, 2019

Iran has exceeded the limits imposed on its uranium stockpile set by the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that Iran has surpassed the 300-kilogram limit established by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and will continue development that exceeds other limits mandated by the deal, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.

“As far as I know, Iran has exceeded the 300kg limit according to the timeline, and we had also earlier announced this issue and clearly stated which measures we will adopt as our rights based on the nuclear deal,” Zarif told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

“The next stage which has been declared pertains to the 3.67% limit which will come into effect in the second phase,” Zarif added.

A source told Fars News Agency that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also confirmed that the stockpile exceeded the limits.

“After measuring Iran’s enriched materials last Wednesday, inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) weighed them again today and (said that) Iran’s stockpile has exceeded 300kg,” the source said on Monday.

An Iranian Atomic Energy Organization official who spoke on Iranian state television on June 17 said that Iran would surpass the limit on uranium stockpiles in just 10 days, citing “the country’s needs.”

Iran vowed in May to stop compliance with some parts of the deal, adding that they would continue some of the commitments, although they did not explain which ones.

Iran’s Ambassador to the U.N., Majid Takht Ravanchi, told CNN on Sunday that, “Some articles in the nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA) allow Iran not to fulfill its commitments,” Iran’s state media, Islamic Republic News Agency, reported Monday.

“What we have done is exactly based on articles 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal that allow Iran to reduce its commitments in case the U.S. leave the pact,” he added.

A former IAEA chief warned last month that Iran was capable of developing nuclear weapons in less than eight months, and issued a warning to Israel and other Gulf nations to prepare for such an event.

“Israelis need to be worried, and the Gulf states also have reason for concern,” Olli Heinonen, former IAEA deputy director, said. “How will you be able to ensure your security if Iran achieves nuclear abilities?”

Heinonen criticized the IAEA for not properly handling its assessment of Iran’s capabilities and ignoring Iran’s quest for developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has threatened to begin its next phase of uranium production, which will violate additional JCPOA limits.

“For Europeans, there is still time, but if they are asking for more time, it means that whether they are incompetent or they are unwilling to deliver on their commitments,” spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi told Fars News Agency.

“When the two objectives are accomplished based on the first step defined in the announcement of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), the second step (i.e. enriching uranium above 3.7 percent level of purity) will take nothing more than 2 to 3 days,” he added.