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Iranian president says his country is ready to 'take the next step' in enriching uranium


He said Iran would produce uranium 'in any amount we want'

Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his country is prepared to "take the next step" in uranium enrichment "in any amount we want."

What's the background?

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced Monday that Iran's uranium stockpile had "exceeded the 300-kilogram limit" mandated by the now-defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal).

The International Atomic Energy Agency later confirmed this.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed by the Obama administration in 2015. It gave Iran limits on how much uranium it could refine, in return for lifting sanctions and unfreezing some Iranian assets. In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he would pull the U.S. out of the deal, which he described as an "embarrassment."

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom tried unsuccessfully to convince Iran to abide by the deal without the United States.

On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted, "Iran was violating the 150 Billion Dollar (plus 1.8 Billion Dollar in CASH) Nuclear Deal with the United States, and others who paid NOTHING, long before I became President — and they have now breached their stockpile limit. Not good!"

Here's what we know

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Rouhani said that Iran was ready to "take the next step" to refine uranium "in any amount that we want, any amount that is required, we will take over 3.67."

This level of enrichment is sufficient for operating nuclear power plants, but not anywhere near the 90 percent required to develop a nuclear weapon. Rouhani indicated that this breach of the agreed upon limits could happen by Sunday.

"Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table," he continued. "Go back to understanding, to respecting the law and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Under those conditions, all of us can abide by the nuclear deal."

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