Iran’s atomic energy agency has said the country plans to quadruple production of low-level enriched uranium and will reach the limit of the stockpile allowed under the nuclear deal within days.
The spokesman for Iran Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Behrouz Kamalvandi, said Iran will reach the allowed 300kg level of enriched uranium at levels mandated by the deal on June 27.
“We will go further from that ceiling, not only that but we will also increase production drastically. After we pass the limit of 300kg the pace and the speed of enriched uranium production at the lower rate will also increase,” Kalmavandi said on Monday.
Tehran stopped complying with some elements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on May 8 the remaining signatories – the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – had 60 days to implement their promises to protect Iran’s oil and banking sectors from US sanctions.
“The aim is to increase the bargaining leverage and to put increasing pressure on Europe,” said Ali Fathollah Nejad from the Brookings Doha Center of Monday’s announcement.
“This is more symbolic than substantial because Iran is not going to commit any violation. They’re going to go as far as possible to the threshold but won’t break it because they’ll lose European support. And for now, this is not the Iranian strategy.”
Rouhani last week reissued the ultimatum, and earlier this month the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran has already accelerated its production on enriched uranium.
The chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Nuclear Committee, Mojtaba Zonnour, said Iran will consider leaving the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) altogether if Europe’s JCPOA signatories fail to do their share of saving the agreement before the 60-day deadline, the Mehr news agency reported on Monday.
Iran says its decision to reduce commitments under the nuclear deal is within its rights under the 2015 agreement.
Monday’s announcement comes amid rising tensions in the Gulf after a series of unexplained attacks on oil vessels and infrastructure in the region.