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Iran expected to breach uranium stockpile limits on Thursday as tensions simmer


Iran expected to breach uranium stockpile limits on Thursday as tensions simmer

iran nuclear stockpiling
Photo: Gallot/Getty

Monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency today expect Iran to breach its permitted limit on its uranium stockpile as outlined under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

With the return of US economic sanctions, questions have remained as to how the EU, China and Russia can uphold their participation in the agreement by trading with Iran. The EU is likely to express disapproval Tehran’s the decision to breach the threshold, however the major European powers remain committed to maintaining the JCPOA, as do Russia and China, despite their tensions with Washington.

Iran has repeatedly highlighted its opposition to building nuclear weapons and claimed that overstepping the uranium stockpile limit is necessary for civilian purposes. Iran has also resumed enrichment to 20%, which threatens another aspect of the JCPOA and brings Tehran closer to the uranium requirements for a nuclear weapon.

However, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s reiteration of Iran’s opposition to nuclear weapons is a potential signal to the US that Iran’s leadership is open to talks. Any negotiations could only be positive given current tensions. However, the Trump administration’s concerns around aspects of Iranian behaviour other than its nuclear program, such as its long-range missile program, means that any bilateral talks are unlikely in the short-term.

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