The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Iran surpasses nuclear fuel limit

by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/01/19, 10:53 am

Iran announced Monday it had breached a key limit on how much nuclear fuel it can stockpile under a 2015 deal with world powers. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed the announcement to the state-run IRNA news agency, adding, “if Europeans do what they have to do, our measures are reversible.”

In exchange for relief from economic sanctions, the nuclear pact restricted Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium to 660 pounds, which is below the amount needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Currently, the country’s uranium is enriched to 3.67 percent, while “weapons-grade” uranium is 90 percent–enriched or higher, the BBC reported. Prior to the deal, Iran had enrichment levels as high as 20 percent.

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear agreement in May 2018. Earlier this year, the White House said it would sanction countries that still purchase Iranian oil. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would resist the U.S. sanctions by ending the country’s compliance with the deal. China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom have remained in the agreement, and Iran has demanded the countries offer it new terms to offset U.S. sanctions by July 7.

The announcement about enriched uranium comes after weeks of tension between Iran and the United States. Iran has shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone, and the United States has blamed the country for attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

If international bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirm Iran’s breach of the uranium limit, the terms of the deal require the renewal of UN and multilateral sanctions. “Our inspectors are on the ground and they will report to headquarters as soon as the stockpile has been verified,” the IAEA said in a statement.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

Read more from this writer


  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Mon, 07/01/2019 09:57 pm

    It is like we are re-living the geopolitics of Sir Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 07/02/2019 09:18 pm

    Craziness abounds. Iran thinks they can bluff the nations that remain in the agreement, and they may be right. There may well be willingness to drop or modify sanctions in return for Iran backing down their centrifuges a bit. So Iran’s economy dodges a bullet. Or further bullets, actually. 

    But it seems Iran is not taking Israel into account. While they calculate the odds of bluffing Europe, Russia, and China, their neighborhood adversary Israel gets more and more alarmed. 

    Or maybe not.  The Israelis can calculate deviously with the best of them.  My advice to anyone visiting Israel:  stay well away from the Dome of the Rock. If shooting starts, it won’t surprise me a bit if that mosque is obliterated by an Iranian missile. Electronically spoofed to think it is homing in on an Israeli anti-aircraft missile site.

    Maybe a Churchill quote from way back is again appropriate:  “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. Perhaps the end of the beginning.”