Iran will increase its level of uranium enrichment starting Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani said.
This step has been described by Rowhani as the country’s second phase in scaling back its adherence to the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.
“On July 7, our uranium enrichment ceiling will no longer be 3.67 per cent,” Rowhani said at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The president’s remarks were in keeping with a strategy outlined by Tehran in June.
In June, Tehran said it would begin violating the terms of the deal in two parts unless the deal’s other signatories began offering relief from crippling economic sanctions.
The first part was achieved on Monday when Iranian media and international nuclear inspectors reported that the country’s stockpile had passed the 300-kilogramme limit set by the deal.
The second part, as reiterated by Rowhani again on Wednesday, was to push its enrichment level beyond the cap set in the deal of 3.67 per cent.
The US pulled out of the deal last year and re-imposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran. It has continued to ratchet up the pressure on the Islamic Republic, including moving military assets into the region.
However, Iran has lashed out at Europe in recent days, saying its efforts to salvage the deal have not been nearly enough despite repeated reassurances there would be an economic pay off to sticking with it.
“We were and are 100 per cent committed to the nuclear deal, but it has to be reciprocal,” Rowhani said on Wednesday, demanding “a return to logic, laws, recognised agreements and UN resolutions.”
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that European leaders had urged Iran not to breach the terms of the deal. They will watch to see whether Tehran commits further breaches on 7 July, as it has threatened.