Iran breaches nuclear fuel stockpile allowed under accord

Iran's state media reported Monday that the country exceeded a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the terms of the international accord intended to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. 
The development was reported by the Fars News Agency.

The move does not immediately cast Iran out of the accord, but signals its intention to pressure European signatories to the deal to find a way of salvaging an agreement that the Trump administration has abandoned in favor of sanctions and war threats. 

Under terms of the deal negotiated in 2015 by then-President Barack Obama, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67%. Until Monday, Iran has officially stuck to those terms, according to repeated verifications by the United Nation's nuclear watchdog. Before the deal, Iran enriched uranium as high as 20%, close to weapons-grade levels. 

However, Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful, civilian purposes only. That claim has been met with skepticism in world capitals. 

Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China held urgent talks with Iranian officials on Friday in Vienna, Austria, in the hope of persuading Tehran to hold off exceeding the maximum level of uranium enrichment permitted under the deal. Iran has flagged that it may make a more significant move away from the accord by July 7. 

The GOP-controlled Senate defeated a measure Friday that would have blocked President Donald Trump from launching a military strike against Iran unless he got explicit congressional approval.

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