Iran can enrich uranium to any amount it wants

Iranian leader puts pressure on European nations to offer a way around intense U.S. sanctions
Iranian leader puts pressure on European nations to offer a way around intense U.S. sanctions

Iran's president warned that Tehran will increase its enrichment of uranium to "any amount that we want" beginning on Sunday, putting further pressure on European nations to save its faltering nuclear deal and offer a way around intense U.S. sanctions. Stars and Stripes writes in the article Iran's president says his country will enrich uranium to 'any amount we want', that  Hassan Rouhani comments came as tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S. over the deal, which President Donald Trump pulled America from over a year ago.

An increasing stockpile and higher enrichment close the estimated one-year window Iran would need to produce enough material for a nuclear bomb, something Iran denies it wants but the nuclear deal sought to prevent.

All this comes as the U.S. has rushed an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and F-22 fighters to the region and Iran recently shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani seemed to signal that Europe has yet to offer Iran anything to alleviate the pain of the renewed U.S. sanctions targeting its oil industry and top officials.

Iran's nuclear deal currently bars it from enriching uranium above 3.67%, which is enough for nuclear power plants but far below the 90% needed for weapon-grade levels.

"Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table," he said. "Go back to understanding, to respecting the law and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Under those conditions, all of us can abide by the nuclear deal."

There was no immediate reaction in Europe, where the EU just the day before finalized nominations to take over the bloc's top posts. On Tuesday, European powers separately issued a statement on Iran breaking through its stockpile limit, calling on Tehran "to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal."

Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67 percent. Both Iran and the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency confirmed Monday that Tehran had breached that limit.

While that represents Iran's first major departure from the accord, it still remains likely a year away from having enough material for a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, but the West fears it could allow Iran to build a bomb.

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