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Khamenei ups the ante against US, vows nuclear deal breach

Khamenei ups the ante against 
US, vows nuclear deal breach

Reuters
DUBAI
Iran’s supreme leader upped the ante in a volatile stand-off with the United States on Tuesday, warning Tehran would continue removing restraints on its nuclear programme and retaliate for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker.
European parties to the pact decided on Monday not to trigger the deal’s dispute mechanism in favour of pursuing more talks and avert any US-Iranian military conflict, but took no action to shield Iran against a sanctions clampdown by Trump.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate authority, accused Britain, Germany and France of failing to uphold obligations under the deal to restore Iranian access to global trade, especially for Tehran’s oil exports blocked by US sanctions.
“According to our foreign minister, Europe made 11 commitments, none of which they abided by. We abided by our commitments and even beyond them. Now that we’ve begun to reduce our commitments, they oppose it. How insolent! You didn’t abide by your commitments!” Khamenei said, according to his website.
“We have started to reduce our commitments and this trend shall continue,” Khamenei said in remarks carried by state television. He has previously upbraided European powers for not standing up to Trump and circumventing his sanctions noose. Russia and China are also parties to the accord.
But it was the first time Khamenei explicitly pledged to press ahead with breaches of the nuclear deal, spurning European appeals to Iran to restore limits on enrichment aimed at obviating any dash to developing atomic bombs.
Iran has long denied any intent to acquire nuclear weapons, and has said all its breaches could be reversed if Washington returned to the deal and its economic dividends were realised.
“Western governments’ major vice is their arrogance,” Khamenei said. “If the country opposing them is a weak one, their arrogance works. But if it’s a country that knows and stands up against them, they will be defeated.”
IAEA inspectors last week confirmed Iran is now enriching uranium to 4.5% fissile purity, above the 3.67% limit set by its deal, the second breach in as many weeks after Tehran exceeded limits on its stock of low-enriched uranium.
The level at which Iran is now refining uranium is still well below the 20% purity of enrichment.

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