Iran said to be short of uranium limit but expected to reach it by weekend
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Iran said to be short of uranium limit but expected to reach it by weekend

Anonymous diplomats say Tehran will not cross threshold on Thursday as Islamic Republic claimed, but with production rate of roughly a kilo a day, will get there in coming days

A technician at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, February 3, 2007. (AP/Vahid Salemi/File)
A technician at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, February 3, 2007. (AP/Vahid Salemi/File)

Three anonymous diplomats say that although Iran has not reached the maximum amount of enriched uranium it is permitted under the nuclear deal, it is on track to reach that limit this weekend, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday.

The diplomats said that the UN nuclear watchdog verified Iran had roughly 200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, and is producing it at a rate of roughly 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) a day, meaning it will hit the limit of 202.8 kilograms in the coming days.

Iran, which has been revving up its nuclear program since the United States pulled out of the deal last year and reimposed economic sanctions, said that as of June 27, it will have more than the 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of enriched uranium that it was allowed to have under the 2015 deal. The nuclear deal caps Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium at 300 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride, which corresponds to 202.8 kilograms of uranium, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran’s move has raised alarm among the other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — which have urged it to stick to its commitments.

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi briefs journalists outside the Security Council on June 24, 2019. (Loey Felipe/UN)

Iran told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that it cannot “alone” save the nuclear deal, turning up pressure on the Europeans, Russia and China as it moved toward a possible breach of its commitments to limit its nuclear activities.

“Iran has done a lot and much more than its fair share to preserve the nuclear deal,” Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told a Security Council meeting.

“Iran alone cannot, shall not and will not take all of the burdens anymore to preserve the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.

But the Iranian ambassador argued that the US exit from the nuclear deal and the re-imposition of sanctions have rendered the JCPOA “almost fully ineffective.”

Ravanchi insisted that the other signatories, namely Britain, France and Germany, must find a way to compensate Iran.

Iran’s uranium conversion facility near Isfahan, which reprocesses uranium ore concentrate into uranium hexafluoride gas, which is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment, March 30, 2005. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Iran’s decision to scrap limits imposed by the nuclear deal on its uranium enrichment “may not help preserve” the landmark agreement, UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council.

Six European countries separately released a joint statement saying they were “extremely concerned” by Iran’s latest move.

“We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under JCPOA in full and to refrain from escalatory steps,” said the statement from Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Estonia.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran pledged to reduce its nuclear capacities for several years and allow in inspectors in exchange for sanctions relief.

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