(July 7, 2019 / JNS) Iran announced on Sunday that it intends to raise its uranium enrichment beyond what is permitted by the 2015 nuclear deal.
At a news conference, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Iran would go beyond the 3.67 percent uranium enrichment imposed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to an amount “based on our needs.” The move is expected to increase tensions between Iran and the United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal over a year ago and reimposed sanctions, arguing that Iran was not upholding its side of the agreement.
On July 1, Iran said it had broken the 661-pound limit on its low-enriched uranium stockpile, which experts warned could allow for an Iranian nuclear weapon in less than a year.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Sunday that European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had received a letter informing her of Iran’s decision to increase enrichment, according to the Fars News Agency.
Iran has denied seeking nuclear weapons, but Netanyahu warned Sunday that the increase in uranium enrichment is a “very, very dangerous step.”
“I call on my friends, the heads of France, Britain and Germany,” Netanyahu said at a weekly cabinet meeting. “You signed this deal [the JCPOA], and you said that as soon as they take this step, severe sanctions will be imposed—that was the Security Council resolution. Where are you?”
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz echoed Netanyahu’s concerns, warning that Iran “is brushing off the red lines that were agreed upon,” and saying that “it has begun its march—a march that is not simple—towards nuclear weaponry.”