Skip to main content

Pompeo says Iran to face more 'isolation, sanctions' for breaching enrichment cap

Iran said earlier it was hours away from breaching cap set by nuclear deal reached with international powers
'Nations should restore the long-standing standard of no enrichment for Iran's nuclear program,' Pompeo said (AFP/file photo)

Iran will face further US sanctions in response to its expected breach on Sunday of a uranium enrichment cap, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

"Iran's latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions," the top US diplomat said on Twitter.

Iran said earlier it was hours away from breaching the cap set by an endangered nuclear deal reached with international powers but from which the United States withdrew last year, AFP said.

The Islamic Republic also threatened to abandon more of its commitments unless a solution is found with parties to the landmark 2015 agreement.

President Donald Trump on Sunday told reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, that Iran "better be careful", hours after Tehran announced it would shortly boost enrichment above the 2015 cap. "You enrich for one reason, and I won't tell you what that reason is. But it's no good. They better be careful."

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Iran to increase uranium enrichment in 'a few hours' in further violation of nuclear deal
Read More »

On Wednesday, Trump had warned Iran its threats could "come back to bite" after Tehran vowed to exceed the maximum uranium enrichment level allowed by the nuclear accord, Al Jazeera reported, citing Trump’s tweets.

"Iran has just issued a New Warning. Rouhani says that they will Enrich Uranium to 'any amount we want' if there is no new Nuclear Deal," Trump tweeted, following it with another: "Be careful with the threats, Iran. They can come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before!"

The deal saw Iran commit not to acquire an atomic bomb, to accept drastic limits on its nuclear programme and to submit to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections in exchange for a partial lifting of crippling international sanctions.

But Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the deal on 8 May 2018 - and subsequent sanctions - have deprived Iran of the economic benefits it expected and plunged it into recession.

"Nations should restore the long-standing standard of no enrichment for Iran's nuclear program. Iran's regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world," Pompeo said.

Even after the US pullout, experts said Iran had been complying with the agreement.

But Tehran, which has sought to pressure the remaining parties to save the deal, on 8 May announced it would no longer respect the limits set on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles.

It also threatened to go further and abandon more nuclear commitments unless the remaining partners - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - help it to circumvent sanctions, especially to sell its oil.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.