Updated Jul 7, 2019 - World

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran announces new breach

A view of the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant as the first fuel is loaded, on August 21, 2010 in Bushehr, southern Iran.

The reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Photo: IIPA via Getty Images

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Sunday the country would break within hours the limit on uranium enrichment set in the 2015 nuclear deal, BBC reports.

Details: Araghchi said Iran would start enriching uranium above the 3.67% limit to provide fuel for its Bushehr power plant, according to BBC, which reported that officials said this would mean a concentration of about 5%.

"This is to protect the nuclear deal, not to nullify it. This is an opportunity for talks. And if our partners fail to use this opportunity they should not doubt our determination to leave the deal."
— Araghchi

Why it matters: Iran has already admitted breaching the deal. It said last week its stockpile of low-enriched uranium crossed 300 kilograms (661 pounds) — the maximum amount it's allowed to hold under the 2015 nuclear deal, which has been in jeopardy since the U.S. withdrew from it.

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Tehran would start enriching uranium to "any amount we want" on July 7.

The big picture: Araghchi told a news conference Iran would scale back other commitments in 60 days if there's no progress in talks with European countries on the nuclear deal, according to Al Jazeera.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France and Iran had agreed to explore by July 15 conditions to resume talks on the nuclear deal, per Euronews.
  • The situation between Iran and the United States remains tense. Last month, Iran shot down a U.S. drone. Trump called off retaliatory airstrikes at the last minute.

Go deeper: How Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war

This article has been updated with more details, including fresh comment from Araghchi.

Go deeper