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Iran to inject uranium gas in further break from nuclear deal

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran on September 3
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Tuesday Iran would "resume uranium enrichment" at its Fordow plant and begin injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges, Iranian state media reports.

Why it matters: The announcement coincided with the first anniversary of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. Axios contributor Barak Ravid notes the announced plans are a substantial breach of Iran's nuclear deal.

  • "In the nuclear deal Iran committed to stop enrichment at Fordow and turn the facility to a reaserach center," Ravid said, noting it's the first time Iran has undertaken enrichment at Fordow since the 2015 deal.

The big picture: Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the policy institute the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, notes in an article for Axios that the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign "escalated further last week with new State Department findings that link the country's construction sector to its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."

  • On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement the U.S. had imposed sanctions on nine people connected to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

What they're saying: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox Business Network's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" Monday after Iran announced an operation involving 60 more centrifuges that the sanctions on Iran were "having a real impact and we need to continue to press."

Go deeper: Expanding U.S. pressure campaign on Iran could reach a tipping point

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.