Iran uranium enrichment far beyond JCPOA limit, top official says

Despite the Iranian threat to boost enrichment, the United States said its renewed sanctions against Tehran were working and warned Iranian leaders not to underestimate US resolve.

It has promised to keep reducing its commitments every 60 days unless it begins to see the accord's promised benefits, and warned the Europeans that "certain unusual acts" will prompt it to "skip all the next steps" and implement the final one.

The EU has strongly urged Iran to reverse its decision to raise the level at which it enriches uranium beyond that allowed by a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran had announced its breach of the limit on Sunday, a deliberate step aimed at pressuring the remaining signatories to the nuclear accord-particularly Germany, France and the UK-to take substantive steps to counter crippling U.S. economic sanctions that are tantamount to a state of war. But the US reimposed the sanctions it had promised to lift and is demanding that other countries cut off most business with Iran.

Washington has imposed sanctions that eliminate any of the benefits Iran was meant to receive in return for agreeing to curbs on its nuclear programme under the 2015 deal with world powers.

"But America will not back down", Pence was set to say in his speech.

However, Kelley said the "breakout" concept is misleading if it only focuses on Iran's stocks of nuclear material.

Nuclear diplomacy is one aspect of a wider confrontation between Washington and Tehran that has threatened to spiral into open conflict since the United States tightened sanctions from May.

Royal Marines seized the tanker on July 4 for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, an action that sparked Tehran's anger and could escalate its confrontation with the West.

"As we pressure the Iranian regime, we will also continue to stand with the long-suffering Iranian people, who as President Trump has said, are the "rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land", Bolton said".

"Iran is not racing toward the bomb as some allege but these are calibrated moves", Kimball told The Associated Press. This is pure enough to use in some nuclear power plants, but a long way from the 90 percent enrichment needed for nuclear weapons. He cited a string of suspected Iranian attacks on oil tankers and its downing of a USA drone last month.

Following the deal, Iran's break-out time was assessed to be at least one year.

In a separate standoff, Iran's foreign minister accused Britain of "piracy" for seizing an Iranian oil tanker last week.

Officials were quoted by several media reports as saying that Iran was ramping up the level of uranium enrichment beyond the 3.67 per cent permitted under the deal.

Under the deal, Iran has been closely monitored by inspectors from the IAEA, which on Monday verified "that Iran is enriching uranium above 3.67%".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Iran appreciated the efforts of some nations to save the deal, but offered a jaded tone on whether Tehran trusted anyone in the negotiations.

Fox News Flash top headlines for July 8 are here.

Mike Pompeo said Islamist groups receive "far less" money from Iran for carrying out terror attacks. He also announced that Iran would restart construction at the Arak heavy water reactor. Bushehr, Iran's only nuclear power plant, is now running on imported fuel from Russian Federation that's enriched around 5%.

Russia's envoy to the IAEA took to Twitter to mock the USA request for a special session, and suggested Iran's enrichment cap and level is a matter that should be handled by the Joint Commission that oversees implementation of the nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from.

  • Leroy Wright