UPDATED 1:56 PM PT — Monday, July 1, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran is using its nuclear program to “extort the international community.” As the world’s top sponsor of terrorism, he said the country should “never be allowed to enrich uranium at any level.”
Pompeo tweeted the statement Monday amid reports the Islamic Republic exceeded its uranium enrichment limit.
Iran's regime has taken new steps to advance its nuclear ambitions. Once again, the regime uses its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security. The world’s top sponsor of terrorism can never be allowed to enrich uranium at any level.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 1, 2019
Iranian news outlet Fars said the country has produced about 660-pounds of enriched uranium, which is just over the limit put in place by the 2015 Iran Nuclear Accord. Officials pointed out the stockpile is not enough for the country to produce a nuclear weapon.
President Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal last year, but the agreement still remains in effect for several countries.
Iran previously vowed to exceed the limit unless it received relief on sanctions, which were promised under the deal.
“…Iran has exceeded the enriched uranium limit. We had previously announced this and we were transparent in saying what we are going to do. We are going to act according to what we have announced and we consider it our right, reserved in the nuclear deal.”
— Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister – Iran
Iranian leaders said if the European Union does not lower sanctions on the country by this Sunday, it will further increase its enrichment levels.