Iran fires back at White House over claims it has been violating nuclear deal for years: 'Seriously?'

Iran  fired back at claims by the White House that the regime has been violating the 2015 nuclear accord for years with a terse one-word response, tweeting “seriously?”

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued the short statement after the White House said: “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday that Iran is “playing with fire” as it threatened to pursue weapons-grade uranium as soon as July 7.

Earlier in the day, the semi-official Fars news agency in Iran cited an unnamed source as saying that U.N. inspectors had recently weighed Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

According to the report, Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium was greater than the 660-pound limit set by the nuclear deal. The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the deal more than a year ago.

In a written statement Monday, the White House said the development should have been foreseeable to the Obama administration "even before the deal's existence."

“The Iranian regime took action today to increase its uranium enrichment,” the White House said in the statement. “It was a mistake under the Iran nuclear deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium at any level. There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

The White House also pledged to continue to exert "maximum pressure" on the regime in a bid to ensure that the country never obtains nuclear weapons, even as it worked to undo what it called the "mistake" of the previous administration.

While uranium enriched to 3.67 percent is useable for nuclear power plants, enrichment closer to 90 percent is needed for atomic weaponry.
European powers expressed warnings over Iran breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, with the United Kingdom saying the situation was “extremely concerning.”

Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said she’s working with partners to decide what action should be taken, Sky News reported.

“We have been consistently clear that our commitment to the deal depends on Iran complying in full with the terms of the deal and we urge them to reverse this step.”

The violation of the deal comes as the tensions between the U.S. and Iran reached a fever pitch after the regime allegedly attacked two oil tankers in the region and shot down a U.S. drone, prompting the U.S. to consider a military strike.

The supposed strike was canceled last minute by Trump and the administration instead imposed another round of crippling sanctions that have sent Iran's economy into a tailspin.

Iran's oil exports have more than halved since sanctions were reinstated and imposed last year, and the rial has lost approximately 60 percent of its value against the dollar. 

Additionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said inflation in Iran hit 31 percent in 2018, and could continue to rise. The IMF said Iran's economy contracted by 3.9 percent in 2018, and in April forecast a massive economic contraction of as much as 6 percent this year.

The Iranian foreign minister stressed the country's decision to exceed stockpile limits on Monday was "reversible," but he pleaded again for European countries to work to reduce the sanctions.

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