Mindanao Times

Iran to exceed nuke deal enrichment cap

IRAN says it intends to breach the uranium enrichment cap set by a landmark nuclear deal Sunday in a bid to press signatorie­s to the endangered pact into keeping their side of the bargain.


The looming move -involving purifying beyond the 3.67 percent allowed by the 2015 agreement -- was confirmed by President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, despite opposition from the US and the EU.

He in effect made concrete a threat initially flagged by the Islamic Republic on May 8, exactly a year on from US President Donald Trump unilateral­ly abandoning the multilater­al deal in May 2018.

Rouhani said the planned move is in response to a failure by remaining state signatorie­s to keep their promise to help Iran work around biting sanctions reimposed by the US in the second half of last year.

It is not yet clear how far the Islamic republic will boost enrichment.

But a top advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hinted on Friday it could reach five percent.

Uranium enrichment “will increase as much as needed for our peaceful activities,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, internatio­nal affairs advisor to Khamenei, in an interview published on the supreme leader’s website.

For the “Bushehr nuclear reactor we need five percent of enrichment and it is a completely peaceful goal,” he added.

Bushehr is Iran’s only nuclear power station and runs on imported fuel from Russia that is closely monitored by the UN’s Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The 2015 deal was reached between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, the US and Russia -- and saw Iran agree to drasticall­y scale down its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

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