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Iran activates centrifuges, breaching nuclear deal for the third time

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaking to Parliament about the 2015 Nuclear Deal
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told Parliament that Iran was ready to further reduce its commitments to a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal "in the coming days" if current negotiations yield no results by September 5. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iran announced on Saturday it mobilized a chain of advanced centrifuges to accelerate uranium enrichment — breaching the 2015 nuclear deal for the third time, reports Al-Jazeera.

Catch up quick: Iran plans to cut its commitments to the deal every 60 days until Europe offers economic terms to offset the blow of U.S. sanctions, writes the Washington Post. European countries have been scrambling to save the deal, with the European Union working to keep money moving into Iran's struggling economy, and France proposing $15 billion in credit lines.

However, a spokesperson for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi warned there's little time left to salvage the accord, per the Post.

Details:

  • "Iran separately acknowledged Saturday it had seized another ship and detained 12 Filipino crewmembers, while satellite images suggested an Iranian oil tanker once held by Gibraltar was now off the coast of Syria despite Tehran promising its oil wouldn’t go there," the AP writes.

Yes, but: Iranian officials have said the steps they've taken so far are "reversible if the other side fulfills its promises," according to Al-Jazeera.

The big picture: Since the U.S. pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2018, Iran has scaled back its commitments, exceeding the low-enriched uranium limits and increasing its enrichment up to 4.5%. The accord originally set the limit at 3.67%, per AP, adding the nation can enrich uranium “much more beyond” current levels to weapons-grade material.

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