Skip to main content

Iran announces it will soon exceed nuclear deal limits

Iran has announced that in 10 days it will exceed the 300-kilogram limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
A general view of the Arak heavy-water project, 190 km (120 miles) southwest of Tehran January 15, 2011. A group of ambassadors to the U.N. atomic watchdog toured an Iranian nuclear site on Saturday, state television reported, and Tehran accused the European Union of missing an historic opportunity by boycotting the visit. REUTERS/ISNA/Hamid Forootan (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY SCI TECH BUSINESS) - GM1E71G09FT01

In an apparent last-ditch attempt to force Europe’s hand in preserving the nuclear deal and showing Iranian resolve to step away if their interests are not guaranteed, Iran has announced it will continue to scale back its commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, spoke to reporters at the nascent Arak heavy water nuclear facility on June 17. In May, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced the country would scale back its commitments and gave European signatories to the deal 60 days to provide the promised economic dividends of the JCPOA in order to keep it alive. The United States exited the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions, putting the United Kingdom, Germany and France in the middle of wanting to preserve the deal but afraid of US sanctions if they do. The proposed plan — the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, which was announced in January — has not yet been implemented.

As today’s announcement demonstrated, Iran’s patience is wearing thin. “We’ve increased production at Natanz,” Kamalvandi said of the uranium enrichment plant located in Esfahan province. He added, “In 10 days, we will pass the 300-kilogram ceiling.” As part of its commitments under the JCPOA, Iran reduced its low-enriched uranium stockpile by 98% to 300 kilograms, a limit that was to remain until 2031. Under the deal, the level of enrichment would remain at 3.67%.

Regarding Iran’s reduced commitments, Kamalvandi said, “We are awaiting the decision of officials. There is still time remaining for the Europeans. They’ve had opportunities in the past, and there has been one year of strategic patience and two months' notice.” Kamalvandi said Iran’s recent actions have been in accordance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. Article 26 states that the European Union “will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the sanctions it has terminated implementing under this JCPOA, without prejudice to the dispute resolutions process provided for under this JCPOA.” The article continued, “The United States will make best efforts in good faith to sustain this JCPOA.”

Kamalvandi also said there are different scenarios for how much Iran would accelerate its nuclear program, and these different scenarios have been presented to Iranian officials. “There is a scenario in which the 3.67% is increased to 5% to meet the needs of Bushehr [nuclear power plant] or 20% to meet the needs of the Tehran Research Center.”

Kamalvandi continued, “We are awaiting actions by the opposing side (Europe); meetings and conferences are not enough. When they take action, our commitments will return to the previous situation.” He said if Europe takes action to restore the JCPOA, then it would be up to the Foreign Ministry and the Supreme National Security Council to decide to what level Europe fulfilled its agreements and to what level Iran would return to previous obligations.

In response to US accusations that it was behind the attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces Mohammad Hassein Bagheri said in that if Iran had wanted to stop the exporting of oil from the Persian Gulf, it would have stated so and done so.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial