Iran's stockpiles of enriched low-grade uranium have exceeded the 300-kilogram limit set in a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday according to the state-run IRNA news outlet.
"We can confirm that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has informed the Board of Governors that the Agency verified on 1 July that Iran's total enriched uranium stockpile exceeded [the deal's limit]", a spokesman for the IAEA said in a statement on Monday, as carried by Reuters.
Criticizing the 2015 accord for permitting some uranium enrichment, the State Department said "the right standard" would ban Iran from any enrichment. Iran has threatened to increase its enrichment of uranium closer to weapons-grade levels by July 7.
In May, after the USA ended exemptions from penalties for countries still importing Iranian oil - and those exchanging surplus Iranian low-enriched uranium for ore concentrate - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that it would no longer comply with the 300kg enriched uranium cap.
"Never threaten an Iranian". Iran is hoping that those countries will make moves to ease the impact of sanctions re-imposed by the US.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear accord.
When the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal a year ago it reimposed biting sanctions on Iran's crucial oil exports and financial transactions as well as other sectors.
Tensions in the Gulf region have escalated since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear accord past year and reimposed harsh sanctions on Terhran.
The deal between Iran and six world powers lifted most worldwide sanctions against Iran in return for restrictions on its nuclear work aimed at extending the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, from roughly two months to a year.
The US has also blamed Iran for earlier attacks on six oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran says its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, including generating power.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another Iran hawk within the administration, in May issued 12 demands of Iran, including limiting its nuclear program and ceasing support for its proxy forces in the region.
Enriched uranium is a key ingredient in nuclear weapons but it also has legitimate uses at nuclear power plants. He said in a tweet that the United Kingdom "remains committed to making [the] deal work and using all diplomatic tools to de-escalate regional tensions". A quantity of 300 kilograms of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) corresponds to 202.8 kilos of LEU. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif confirmed the news, but a spokesman for his office left room for the remaining adherents to the agreement to try and salvage it, noting that the move announced on Monday was "reversible".
Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying the breach did not come as a surprise, and urged Iran to take a responsible approach toward implementing the safeguards agreement with the IAEA under the nuclear deal.
Washington ramped up the sanctions on Iran in May by extending the trade restrictions on Iranian oil to all nations.
But "the Europeans' efforts were not enough, therefore Iran will go ahead with its announced measures", Zarif said.