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Bad Milestone: Iran Has 660 Pounds of Enriched Uranium

Tehran breaches limit set out in 2015 accord
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2019 8:27 AM CDT
This 2011 photo shows the heavy water nuclear facility near Arak, Iran.   (Hamid Foroutan/ISNA via AP, File)

(Newser) – Iran has hit an unwelcome milestone—the nation says it now has 300 kilograms (about 660 pounds) of enriched uranium, a limit it was not supposed to reach under the 2015 international accord. However, Tehran also said the move is "reversible," reports Reuters. The move means that the pressure is now on the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China to try to salvage the 2015 deal, which the Trump administration has withdrawn from, reports the Wall Street Journal. Iran is hoping that those countries will make moves to ease the impact of sanctions re-imposed by the US.

If the deal collapses, Iran could ramp up enrichment to levels necessary for nuclear weapons, notes the BBC. But that could also mean that UN sanctions lifted under the 2015 deal would be reimposed along with the American sanctions. "Our inspectors are on the ground and they will report to headquarters as soon as the LEU (low-enriched uranium) stockpile has been verified," says a spokesman for the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. (Iran recently warned that it was on the brink of the limit. And all this comes amid deteriorating relations with the US.)

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