Iran will breach the 2015 nuclear deal in just over a week

Mohammad-Javad Larijani head of Iran's Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences

Mohammad-Javad Larijani head of Iran's Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences

The Iranian announcement indicated Tehran's determination to break from the landmark 2015 accord, which has steadily unraveled since the Trump administration pulled America out of the deal previous year and re-imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.

"We are going to work to build out a set of countries that have deep vested interest in keeping (the Strait of Hormuz) open, to help us do that", he said.

Tensions between the US and Iran escalated Monday following reports that Tehran will cease to abide by restrictions implemented in the 2015 worldwide agreement limiting its ability to produce nuclear weapons.

The spokesman for Iran's nuclear agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, made the announcement during a news conference with local journalists at Iran's Arak heavy water facility that was carried live on Iranian state television.

It comes after Washington blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, nearly exactly a month after similar attacks which were also blamed on the country.

The country's Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Iran will stop complying unless signatories of the 2015 deal like the United Kingdom and France help it get around US sanctions, reported The New York Times.

"Production of 3.67 percent (enriched) uranium has increased since the capacity was quadrupled".

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Iran's plan to exceed nuclear enrichment limits amount to "nuclear blackmail" and must be met with increased worldwide pressure, a White House National Security Council spokesman said on Monday.

Iran's government announced on Monday that it would pass the threshold for how much uranium it was allowed to stockpile under the terms of the Obama-era nuclear deal within 10 days.

Tensions are now high between the USA and Iran after unexplained attacks on two oil tankers off the Iranian coast on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the US has blamed Iran for attacks on two ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz last week and other attacks in recent weeks in the Mideast, claims Tehran has denied.

A series of more intrusive United Nations inspections under the deal have verified that Iran has been meeting its commitments.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

He also said after June 27 Iran will speed up its uranium enrichment activities beyond 3.67 percent.

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The US and Israel have previously been accused of covert cyber attacks on nuclear facilities in Iran before the recent deal was reached in 2015.

The Western European signatories to the nuclear pact - France, Britain, and Germany - have warned Iran not to violate the deal. When it is highly enriched, uranium can be used as a fuel for nuclear weapons.

Despite Tehran's repeated denials, USA diplomatic and military officials blame Iran directly for what they say were explosions that disabled two cargo ships on Thursday - the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese Kokuka Courageous - in the Gulf of Oman near Iranian waters.

The United States and the IAEA believe Iran had a nuclear weapons program that it abandoned.

The potential still exists for negotiations, provided President Donald Trump makes a course correction and offers credible incentives for a deal.

Mojtaba Zolnour, head of parliament's nuclear committee, said Iran would quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons unless European powers saved the 2015 agreement.

Pompeo said on Sunday the United States did not want to go to war with Iran but would take every action necessary, including diplomacy, to guarantee safe navigation through Middle East shipping lanes. However, Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which the USA suspects in the attacks, answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and operates outside of the army's control.

What we know about the Gulf tanker attacks
He suggested that those flying objects could have been bullets, and called reports of striking a mine " false ". Pompeo said: "Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted".

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