Iran just breached a binding limit on its nuclear fuel stockpile, which it was meant to observe for another 11 years under Obama-era nuclear deal

iran bushehr nuclear power plantA general view of Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran in August 2010.Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

  • Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said Monday the country has surpassed a limit enriched uranium outlined in the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • The 300 kg limit was outlined in the Obama-era nuclear agreement as a "sunset clause" that was meant to expire in 2030.
  • Iran initially stuck to this clause even after President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal last year.
  • But since then it threatened to breach the limit amid fresh economic and military tensions with the US.
  • Uranium enriched to 3.67% can be used in power plants, but not to build nuclear weapons, however.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Iran has surpassed its limit on enriched uranium stockpile as outlined in the 2015 nuclear deal, breaking a promise it was meant to keep until 2030.

The country's stockpile of uranium, enriched to 3.67%, surpassed 300 kilograms as of Monday, according to the BBC and to Iran's semi-state-run Fars news agency on Monday.

Fars cited the measurements of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.

The IAEA is the authority in charge of monitoring and verifying Iran's uranium stockpile. Business Insider has contacted the IAEA for comment.

The 300 kg limit was outlined as a "sunset clause" - an agreement that will ultimately expire - in the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The limitation on uranium enrichment was meant to disappear in 2030.

Read more: Here's what's in the landmark nuclear deal that Iran is starting to walk away from amid tensions with Trump

trump rouhani iran 2x1Michael Gruber/Getty Images; Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

The news comes after the US deployed its most advanced fighter jets, F-22 Raptors, to the Middle East amid increasing military tensions.

Iran kept to its nuclear deal commitments even after President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement last year.

However, after the US accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last month, Tehran changed its mind and said on June 17 that it would breach the nuclear stockpile limit in ten days.

European leaders unsuccessfully tried to persuade Iran to drop its plan to breach the limits on Friday.

oil tanker gulf of iran fireAn oil tanker on fire in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, June 13, 2019.AP Photo/ISNA

Breaching the limit is a symbolic defiance of Trump, but will not really put Iran much closer to building a nuclear weapon, The Washington Post's Loveday Morris noted.

The 3.67%-enriched uranium can be used in power plants but nuclear bombs require more than 90% enriched uranium, Morris said.

The US has already crippled Iran economically with sanctions. Last week Trump signed new sanctions specifically targeting the country's supreme leader.

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