Europe

Iran will breach the 2015 nuclear deal in just over a week

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Iran says it will breach the limit on its stockpile of enriched uranium, set under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, on June 27.

Iran will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers on June 27, a spokesman for the country's atomic agency says.

Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi also warned that Iran needs uranium enriched up to 20 per cent, just a step away from weapons-grade levels.

The announcement indicated Iran's determination to break from the landmark 2015 accord, which has steadily unravelled since the Trump administration pulled America out of the deal last year and re-imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.

Kamalvandi made the announcement during a press conference with local journalists at Iran's Arak heavy water facility that was carried live on Iranian state television.

The development comes in the wake of suspected attacks on oil tankers last week in the region, attacks that Washington has blamed on Iran.

'Unmistakable' Iran behind tanker attacks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seeking support from a united international community by working to convince leaders that Iran was behind attacks on shipping in a key Middle East oil route.

Mr Pompeo said there was "unmistakable" evidence that Iran was to blame for the attacks on two oil tankers, but was emphasising international diplomacy over any military response.

"We are going to work to build out a set of countries that have deep vested interest in keeping (the Strait of Hormuz) open, to help us do that," he said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
AAP

Iran has denied being involved in the attacks and accused the US of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign against it.

Pressed on whether new US military deployment to the region was possible, Mr Pompeo said that remained among the options that President Donald Trump may consider to keep oil tankers moving from the Middle East.

Trump last year withdrew the US from an international agreement, signed in 2015 by President Barack Obama, to limit Iran's nuclear program.

He reinstated economic sanctions and recently ended waivers that allowed some countries to continue buying Iranian oil.

That has deprived Iran of oil income and has coincided with what US officials said was a surge in intelligence pointing to Iranian preparations for attacks against US forces and interests in the Gulf region.

Pompeo stressed that the US gets relatively little of its energy supplies through the strait.

The US Energy Information Administration says 16 per cent of US petroleum imports came from the Persian Gulf countries in 2018.

By contrast, about 80 per cent of oil through the shipping passage supplies energy-hungry countries in Asia, including China, Japan, India and South Korea.

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