Iran passes uranium enrichment cap set by endangered deal

Iran on Monday (July 8th) breached a uranium enrichment cap set by a troubled 2015 nuclear deal and warned Europe against taking retaliatory measures, AFP reported.

Iran surpassing the cap and reaching 4.5% enrichment was announced Monday by the country's atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi.

Speaking to the semi-official ISNA news agency, he hinted that Iran might stick to this level of enrichment for the time being, which is well below the more than 90% level required for a nuclear warhead.

The EU said it was "extremely concerned" by the development and called on Iran to "reverse all activities" inconsistent with its deal commitments.

France, Germany and Britain -- the European partners of the international deal -- on Sunday urged Tehran to halt its advance towards breaching the cap.

China and Russia, the other deal partners, both blamed the US for the latest step by Iran.

The US withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and reimposed biting sanctions on Iran as part of its "maximum pressure" campaign.

US President Donald Trump warned Iran on Sunday over its imminent breach of the uranium enrichment cap, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran would face "further isolation and sanctions".

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi on Sunday singled out declining oil sales and the effect of financial sanctions as the main issues that needed to be solved, or Tehran would further step back from its nuclear commitments.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed this month that Iran has exceeded a 300-kilogramme limit on enriched uranium reserves, a cap that was imposed by the deal.

The IAEA has scheduled a special meeting on Iran's nuclear programme for July 10th.

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