May 20, 2019

Report: Iran quadruples production rate of low-enriched uranium

President Trump after signing a National Security Presidential Memorandum and announcing the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal. Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Iran has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium as of Monday, AP reports, citing Iranian news agencies.

The backdrop: This follows a tweet President Trump posted on Sunday, cautioning that Iran would face its "official end," should the nation threaten the U.S. again. The deepening conflict follows Trump's decision a year ago to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Both Washington and Tehran claim not to want war, however the Trump administration announced deployments of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over unspecified Iranian threats earlier in May.

Details: The uranium reportedly has only been enriched to the 3.67% cap established in the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran could soon exceed the stockpile restrictions outlined in the accord. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesperson for Iran’s nuclear agency, said the increase in production does not mean Iran increased the number of centrifuges in use, another requirement of the deal, per AP.

Go deeper: Why war with Iran is suddenly on the table

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 β€” while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.