Iran to Surpass Uranium Stockpile Limit in 10 days
EghtesadOnline: Iran said on Monday it will surpass the uranium stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days, but added that Europe still has time to salvage the agreement, which has been on the verge of breakdown since the US withdrawal last year.
"Today the countdown to pass the 300-kilogram limit of enriched uranium has started and we will pass this limit in 10 days," the spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, putting the date for crossing the limit on June 27, ISNA reported.
Behrouz Kamalvandi made the statements during a press conference with journalists at the Arak heavy water facility that was aired live on state television.
In May, Tehran announced a decision to reduce compliance with the 2015 nuclear pact, saying that it will stop selling unspent enriched uranium and heavy water—which is used in nuclear reactors—to other countries, according to Financial Tribune.
In addition, it warned that it will start enriching uranium at a higher level unless the European signatories do their share of saving the agreement by protecting the Iranian economy from renewed US sanctions within 60 days.
Under the nuclear deal, Tehran was allowed to produce low-enriched uranium with a 300-kilogram limit and produce heavy water with a stock capped around 130 tons, according to Reuters.
It could ship the excess amounts out of the country for storage or sale.
Tehran will fully comply with the nuclear agreement again, if Europe takes practical measures to protect Iran's economic interests
The accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also restricts Iran to enriching uranium to the fissile level of up to 3.67%.
Kamalvandi said Iran can surpass the 130-ton threshold for heavy water in "two months and a half", adding that these measures are being taken within the legal framework set out in the nuclear agreement.
He also noted that Tehran will increase uranium enrichment levels "based on the country's needs".
Iran needs up to 5% enrichment for its nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr and also needs 20% enrichment for Tehran research reactor, the spokesman was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Window of Opportunity
Kamalvandi said Europeans still have time to fulfill their commitments and meet Iran's demands but warned that Iranian patience is wearing thin on their pledges to keep up trade despite US sanctions.
"There is still time for the Europeans to make a decision. Our patience is running out. We waited for a year and recently gave them two months. The deadline is approaching and they can use this opportunity," he said.
The AEOI spokesman stressed that if they fail to use this opportunity, it means they either do not want to honor their commitments or are unable to withstand US pressure.
Kamalvandi said Tehran will fully comply with the nuclear agreement again, if Europe takes "practical" measures to protect Iran's economic interests.
The European parties to the deal, namely France, Britain and Germany, have promised to help Iran find other ways to trade, although with no success so far.
They have set up a special purpose vehicle called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX, a conduit for non-dollar trade with Iran, in an effort to shield at least some of Iran's economy from sweeping US sanctions.
Iran has repeatedly criticized delays in launching the mechanism.