By Mark Moore
Source: New York Post
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday defiantly declared that his country will increase its level of enriched uranium by “any amount we want,” rejecting pleas from European powers to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal.
Rouhani, speaking at a cabinet meeting, said Iran beginning on Sunday will increase its enrichment unless those remaining in the pact follow through with their obligations.
“In any amount that we want, any amount that is required, we will take over 3.67,” Rouhani said.
“Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table,” he continued. “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.”
Under the Obama-era accord, Tehran is barred from enriching uranium above 3.67 percent, which would allow its use in nuclear power plans but nowhere near the 90 percent needed for nuclear weapons.
On Tuesday, the European powers that are still part of the agreement sought a diplomatic solution to the crisis after Iran announced on Monday that it had surpassed its stockpile limit.
“We have been consistent and clear that our commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran. We regret this decision by Iran, which calls into question an essential instrument of nuclear non-proliferation,” said the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain in a joint statement with the European Union High Representative on Iran. “We urge Iran to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal.”
President Trump, who withdrew the US from the nuclear deal last year and initiated a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, tweeted about Iran breaching the limits.
“Iran was violating the 150 Billion Dollar (plus 1.8 Billion Dollar in CASH) Nuclear Deal with the United States, and others who paid NOTHING, long before I became President – and they have now breached their stockpile limit. Not good!” he said.
The president last month canceled a planned military strike against Iran for its downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone.
Iran said the aircraft was in its airspace, a claim the US denies.
Meanwhile, Iran remembered the July 3, 1988, downing of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Navy warship mistook Iran Air Flight 655 for an Iranian fighter jet and fired at it, killing all 290 aboard.