Iran shocked world leaders when it announced Sunday that it would boost its production of uranium, overcoming its limit of 3.67%. This was announced by the government representative Ali Rabiei in a news conference saying that the country decided to go beyond what was agreed upon in the 2015 nuclear deal due to its increasing needs.
In recent weeks, Iran has told Europe that it will be withdrawing from the deal because of the U.S. sanctions that affected Tehran’s sales in oil. This latest decision was announced only a few days after Iran said that it is breaking its deal for a 300-kilogram limit on its uranium reserves. Experts cautioned that further enrichment in less than a year would allow Iran to develop enough uranium to create an atomic bomb. This was something that the middle-eastern country has repeatedly denied, and the nuclear deal averted.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron made a last-minute decision to have a dialogue with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The two leaders spoke by phone with Macron convincing Rouhani to resume talks with their Western partners by July 15.
However, any chance of coming close to another deal looks dim as European leaders have failed to convince Iran to work around US penalties. These efforts are worrisome for non-proliferation supporters but may be easily changed if leaders from Europe provide Iran the sanction relief that it needs.
The tension regarding uranium limits started in May when the United States deployed thousands of troops, nuclear-ready B-52 bombers, a massive aircraft carrier and fighter jets to the Middle East.
Afterward, blasting of an oil tanker along the Strait of Hormuz, attacks of Yemen rebels on Saudi Arabia which was backed by Iran and the shooting of an unmanned US drone have increased the fear of a more intense conflict which can affect the region vital to the world’s supply of energy.