Iran breaches uranium cap as China decries U.S. 'bullying'

Iran breaches uranium cap as China decries U.S. 'bullying'

This is pure enough to use in some nuclear power plants, but a long way from the 90 percent enrichment needed for nuclear weapons.

Iran demanded the other parties - France, Germany, Britain, China and Russian Federation - take steps to guarantee the economic benefits Iran was promised for the drastic limitations imposed on its nuclear programme.

Former four-star general Jack Keane told Fox News' Bill Hemmer Monday that Iran's increased enrichment of uranium is an attempt to try and force concessions from the global community, and that the crisis is still some way from breaking out into an open conflict.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tasked with inspections, while Iran consistently lived up to its commitments under the deal until recently, it is now in breach of two of them. "Therefore, based on the decision by the president and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), the order was given to take the second step and increase enrichment beyond 3.67%".

This desperation explains Tehran's very public increase in enriched uranium production. "For this, parties must stick to it", the spokesman told a regular government news conference on Monday.

Leonid Slutski, head of the foreign relations committee under the Russian State Duma (the lower chamber of parliament), said on Sunday that Iran's decision was "a result of the USA provocative move".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the step was extremely unsafe and was designed to create atomic bombs, and again called on Europe to impose punitive sanctions on Tehran.

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Since the May 2018 U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the reimposition of sanctions on countries that continue to purchase oil from Iran, the Islamic Republic has put the onus on European countries to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that European powers had taken the first step toward punishing Iran for nuclear pact breaches.

"But if we do, since we have already exceeded 3.67 percent, we have no limitations or obstacles to do so", he said. "So, we don't have an increase in the number of centrifuges for this objective".

With Iran threatening to take major steps away from the 2015 nuclear accord that the Trump administration abandoned previous year, . He went on to say that, if Iran had nuclear weapons, it would be an even bigger threat to the world.

"The enrichment of uranium is made for one reason and one reason only - it's for the creation of atomic bombs", said Benjamin Netanyahu, a strong opponent of the 2015 agreement.

"If signatories of the deal, particularly Europeans, fail to fulfill their commitments in a serious way, the third step will be stronger, more decisive and a bit surprising", Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.

Echoing comments made repeatedly by Trump, Pence said the worldwide accord simply delayed Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon by "roughly a decade" and gave away billions in economic relief that Iran could then use to wage terrorist attacks.