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Iran raises uranium enrichment level

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Iran raises uranium enrichment level Tehran, July 7 (IANS) Iran on Sunday announced it would raise its uranium enrichment level beyond the 3.67 per cent level, beyond limits of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal.

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, confirmed the move during a joint press conference with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, saying the enrichment levels would stand at 5 per cent for now, reports Efe news.

“At this phase, Iran’s moves will be meant to supply power sources and research needs,” Kamalvandi said, according to state-run IRNA news agency.

Ali Rabiee, the spokesman for Iranian government, said in a televised statement: “Today, we will start enriching uranium beyond 3.67 per cent, and its level of purity depends on our needs. This will happen officially,” Ali Rabiee, the spokesman for Iranian government, said in a televised statement.

According to the state-run Press TV, Iran needs 5 per cent uranium enrichment for its Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and 20 per cent enrichment for Tehran research reactor.

Earlier this week, Iran had exceeded the limit of 300 kg on its low-enriched uranium reserve set in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Araghchi, meanwhile, reiterated that Iran wants “the JCPOA to continue; however, our, demands from the document must be met”.

“Otherwise, we will reconsider our commitments to it, and if the Europeans do not satisfy our demands, we will take steps toward that,” he said.

US President Donald Trump, last year abandoned the pact it had signed with Iran along with Russia, China, France and the UK as co-signatories and began imposing strict sanctions on Tehran.

The remaining powers then attempted to keep the JCPOA alive by establishing the Instex in January to facilitate trading with the Islamic republic without violating US sanctions.

Washington criticized the trade mechanism and demanded the EU withdraw from the agreement, considering Iran a threat to peace in the Middle East.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 8 warned his country would begin to withdraw from key aspects of the agreement if global powers failed to keep their commitments within the next 60 days.

With Washington toughening its sanctions on the Islamic republic, Rouhani issued a 60-day moratorium for the rest of the signatories of the pact to fulfil Iran’s demands and save the country’s banking system and oil trade from international sanctions.

The 2015 agreement placed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program in order to prevent the country from building nuclear weapons, in return for lifting sanctions that had strangled its economy.

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