Iran says it will breach nuclear deal limits on its enriched uranium stockpile within 10 days


Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.

Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.

It said it would stick to a 300kg of uranium hexafluoride, enriched to 3.7% until 2030. It now says it will breach the limit within 10 days.

US President Donald Trump formally withdrew the US from the deal in May 2018. The other western signatories said they would stick to the deal, but its authority was dramatically weakened by US withdrawal.

According to Reuters, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announced on Monday: "We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit."

According to the Washington Post, Iran in May threatened to breach the 300kg uranium limit unless the remaining countries in the deal gave it economic concessions, giving them a 60-day deadline.

The Post also reported that stockpiles of above 300kg would put Iran in reach of a having a nuclear arsenal, with multiple bombs. As little as 15kg of enriched uranium is enough to build one nuclear bomb. US sanctions against Iran have increased intermittently since the US pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018.

On November 5, 2018, the US reimposed all of the sanctions on Iran that were halted when Iran signed the deal in 2015.

The US then imposed several new sanctions on Iranian industry, and said it plans to ultimately take no Iranian exports whatsoever.

One of those sanctions was on Iran's Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, which the US says accounts for 50% of all petrochemical exports from Iran.

Then, in April 2019, the US said it would not renew waivers which had allowed some countries to buy Iranian oil. The Trump administration said it would punish those who continued with sanctions on those countries.

Tensions are currently high between the US and Iran after unexplained attacks on two oil tankers off the Iranian coast on Thursday.

The US has said Iran is responsible for the attacks, and continued its criticism over the weekend.

On Sunday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that there was no doubt Iran had orchestrated the attack.

More from Business Insider:

Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Sunday accused a Venezuelan fighter aircraft of "aggressively" shadowing a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II plane over international airspace, in yet another sign of the increasing hostility between the two nations.

The encounter between the U.S. and Venezuelan planes occurred on Friday, the same day that the Trump administration announced it was sanctioning four top officials in Venezuela's military counterintelligence agency.

Read More Show Less
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises scheduled for next month are going ahead, a top Seoul official said Saturday, despite a threat by North Korea to boycott working-level talks with Washington and possibly restart nuclear and longer-range missile tests.

Read More Show Less

Video footage aired on Iranian state television on Saturday shows masked commandos rappelling from a helicopter onto a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Read More Show Less

(Reuters) - A former National Security Agency contractor was sentenced in Maryland to nine years in prison on Friday for stealing huge amounts of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies over two decades though officials never found proof he shared it with anyone.

Read More Show Less

ASPEN -- The Pentagon is recruiting a new cadre of computer geeks to address a threat that the military's top intelligence officer says keeps him up at night.

Read More Show Less