US President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that sanctions against Iran would soon be “increased substantially,” after Tehran said it had exceeded a limit on enriched uranium reserves under a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Washington.
“Iran has long been secretly ‘enriching,’ in total violation of the terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Remember, that deal was to expire in a short number of years. Sanctions will soon be increased, substantially!”
Trump’s tweet came as diplomats gathered in Vienna for a special meeting of the board of the UN atomic watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency, requested by the United States to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
The US called for the meeting after Iran announced last week that it had exceeded the amount of low-enriched uranium it is allowed to stockpile under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Since then, Tehran also announced it has started enriching uranium past the 3.67 percent purity allowed, to 4.5%. The IAEA has verified both developments.
Iran says it is justified in breaching the limits because the US withdrew from the agreement last year and imposed sweeping sanctions. The other parties to the deal — Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and the European Union — have called for Iran to stick to its commitments.
Jackie Wolcott, the US ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, told the gathering of IAEA that Iran’s recent moves to enrich uranium beyond the deal’s limits amounted to “nuclear extortion.”
She said Iran’s “misbehavior” should “not be rewarded.”
Wolcott reiterated that Washington believes the deal was ineffective, but remains “open to negotiation without preconditions.”