President Donald Trump accused Iran on Wednesday of secretly enriching uranium for a long time and warned that US sanctions will be increased soon, as the UN nuclear watchdog held an emergency meeting on Tehran’s breach of a nuclear deal.
“Iran has long been secretly ‘enriching,’ in total violation of the terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration. Remember, that deal was to expire in a short number of years. Sanctions will soon be increased, substantially!” Trump said on Twitter.
Iran has long been secretly “enriching,” in total violation of the terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration. Remember, that deal was to expire in a short number of years. Sanctions will soon be increased, substantially!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2019
The United States used an emergency meeting of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s board on Wednesday to pressure Iran over breaches of the 2015 international nuclear deal, accusing it of extortion and pledging to continue sanctions while still offering to hold talks.
In the past two weeks Iran has breached two limits central to the 2015 nuclear deal, which aimed to extended the time Iran would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran’s measures were within the framework of the deal, which Trump pulled the United States out of last year.
Washington, meanwhile, is set on isolating Iran to force it to negotiate over the nuclear pact, its missile program and its actions in the region.
Former secretary of state Kerry spearheaded the diplomacy that led to the 2015 accord between Iran and world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The deal promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation in return for stringent curbs on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
But Tehran says it has lost patience with perceived inaction by European countries more than a year after Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement, reimposing stinging sanctions.
Tehran announced on Monday it had surpassed 4.5 percent uranium enrichment -- above the 3.67 percent limit under the accord -- though still far below the 90 percent necessary for military purposes.
President Rouhani said in May that Iran would roll back its commitments under the deal in stages every 60 days in an effort to force the other parties to deliver on their side of the bargain.
As tensions rose, the United States dispatched a naval carrier, bombers and extra troops to the region to counter perceived threats from Iran.
Trump said last month he had called off a retaliatory military strike against Iran at the last minute after the Islamic republic shot down a US drone that it said had crossed into its airspace, a claim denied by Washington.