<> on June 27, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

UN watchdog confirms Iran has breached nuclear deal stockpile limit

Manama, Bahrain: The United Nations nuclear watchdog confirmed on Monday that Tehran has broken a stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, a move that could add to friction with the United States.

Iran’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium on Monday exceeded the 300-kilogram limit allowed under the deal, International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Fredrik Dahl said.

His statement followed comments by Iranian officials saying they had breached the limit because Europe has not done enough to mitigate biting US sanctions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the move was “reversible” but warned that Iran can continue to reduce its commitment to the agreement if Europe does not take necessary action to uphold the other side of the deal, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Iran had repeatedly threatened to cross the limit laid out in the deal for its stockpile of low-enriched uranium unless it received some relief from sanctions, arguing that it has been constrained by the accord but unable to reap the benefits of it since the United States pulled out last year.

An Iranian breach of the stockpile limit does not put it significantly closer to building a nuclear weapon, but it strikes another blow to the tattered deal. The stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.67 per cent is suitable for use as fuel in nuclear power plants but far short of the weapons-grade level of more than 90 per cent needed for fissile material in a nuclear bomb.

Read the article by Loveday Morris and Michael Birnbaum in the Brisbane Times (from The Washington Post).