Iran says it has again breached the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, enriching uranium to more than 3.67% purity.It’s Iran’s second breach of the deal’s terms, and comes after President Trump warned the country to “be very careful.”Tehran wants Europe to help it get around U.S. sanctions, but Europe thus far seems to be siding with the U.S.Iran says if the EU fails to find a way to keep the nuclear deal viable within two months, it will do something “somehow stunning.”Iran remains open to diplomacy to save its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers but has “no hope” in the international community, the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday as the Islamic Republic broke the limit the agreement had placed on its enrichment of uranium.
The future of the accord that President Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. from a year ago remains in question. While Iran’s recent measures to increase enrichment and break its low-enriched uranium stockpile limit could be easily reversed, Europe has struggled to respond, even after getting a 60-day warning that the increase was coming.Iran wants Europe to come up with a way to help it sell its crude oil abroad and get around U.S. sanctions, but Europe has yet to do so.
Meanwhile, experts fear a miscalculation in the crisis could explode into open conflict, as Mr. Trump already has nearly bombed Iran over Tehran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone.Trump: “Iran better be careful”Mr. Trump warned Tehran on Sunday that “Iran better be careful.” He didn’t elaborate on what actions the U.S. might consider, but told reporters: “Iran’s doing a lot of bad things.”Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said he had no information on how far Iran had taken its enrichment, though a top aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei previously suggested that Tehran had a need for 5%-enriched uranium. Iran’s state-controlled media said uranium was being enriched to 4.5% as of Monday.Under the nuclear deal, the cap for enrichment was set at 3.67%, a percentage closely monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.Agency inspectors verified Monday that Iran was enriching uranium above the cap, IAEA spokesperson Fredrik Dahl told CBS News’ Pamela Falk.Enriched uranium at the 3.67% level is enough for peaceful pursuits but is far below weapons-grade levels of 90%.The decision to ramp up uranium enrichment came less than a week after Iran acknowledged breaking the deal’s 300-kilogram (661-pound) limit on its low-enriched uranium stockpile. Experts warn higher enrichment and a growing stockpile could begin to narrow the one-year window Iran would need to have enough material for an atomic bomb, something Iran denies it wants but the deal prevented.