Iran says it will exceed nuclear deal's uranium limits in 10 days

Arak heavy water reactor in Iran
(Image credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran said Monday that it will exceed the limits on stockpiled low-enriched uranium set up under a 2015 nuclear deal unless European signatories find a way to work around U.S. sanctions within 10 days. Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran's atomic agency, said Iran has already accelerated its production of uranium and could soon begin enriching it to up to 20 percent, far above the 3.67 percent limit in the deal and significantly closer to the 90 percent enrichment considered weapons-grade. Speaking at Iran's Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, Kamalvandi said the country was on track to exceed the deal's 660-pound limit on low-enriched uranium by July 27.

Iran had previously given the Europeans until July 7 to come up with a plan to salvage the deal, which the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from and has chipped away at for two years, and Monday's announcement coincides with a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels. Britain, France, German, China, and Russia have stuck with the deal despite efforts to undermine it by President Trump and his administration. Along with punishing sanctions on Iran's oil and financial sectors, those efforts included the recent withdrawal of waivers that had allowed Iran to sell excess uranium and heavy water to other countries or store it abroad.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.