Tehran ups its uranium-enriched levels, refusing to cave to sanctions pressure

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Tehran ups its uranium-enriched levels, refusing to cave to sanctions pressure

Tehran raised tensions by upping its uranium-enrichment levels beyond the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.
The move was expected in response to crippling U.S. sanctions.

But, it’s unclear how European powers still in the nuclear pact will respond.
CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

Iran said that its uranium enrichment level would surpass 3.67% sometime Sunday without specifying exactly when or what level it would reach. Iran’s enemies worry that the country is aiming for weapons-grade levels of uranium, something Iran denies.

Iran also reiterated it remained open to talks.

”The road to negotiations and diplomacy is open but the important thing is to find innovations and solutions to meet our demands mostly in relation to oil and banking,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said.

The country said that the United States would be welcome to any talks, but only if it removed sanctions on the country.

The latest crisis began last year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear agreement. Iran and European countries have continued contact, but so far with no successful resolution.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Iran’s leadership this weekend, looking for ways to restart talks to save the nuclear deal, and expressed concern about the consequences of Iran violating its terms. Others have been quick to condemn Iran. The UK demanded that Iran reverse its work, Germany said it was extremely concerned. Israel demanded Europe slap sanctions on Iran.

“This is a very, very dangerous step. I call on my friends, the heads of France, Britain and Germany – you signed this deal and you said that as soon as they take this step severe sanctions will be imposed – that was the Security Council resolution. Where are you,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Enriched uranium at 3.67 levels is far from the 90% needed for effective nuclear weapons. Still, tensions remain high in the region, with Iran shooting down a U.S. drone last month and President Trump saying that he was ready to bomb the country in response, until, he says, he had a last minute change of heart.