Netanyahu warned that Iran’s move to break limits on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium is a “significant step toward making a nuclear weapon.”
By World Israel News Staff and AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel would “soon unveil more proof that Iran was lying all the time” about its nuclear program.
The Israeli prime minister has been an outspoken critic of Iran and has long accused Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran admitted on Monday it had exceeded the limit set on its low-enriched uranium stockpiles by a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, claiming it was its first major departure from the agreement since Washington withdrew from it last year.
While Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, Israeli agents last year smuggled out of Iran tens of thousands of documents and other evidence related to Iran’s illegal nuclear program.
The secret Iranian nuclear archive proved that Tehran had lied about pursuing nuclear arms, Netanyahu maintained in a televised address in English at the time.
Netanyahu now is calling upon European countries to “stand by [their] commitments” to impose sanctions against Iran if it violates the nuclear agreement reached with world powers in 2015.
Meanwhile, Britain also urged Iran to reverse course and stick to the terms of the nuclear deal.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “deeply worried” by Iran’s announcement that it had surpassed the stockpile of low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA ).
In a tweet, he urged Tehran “to avoid any further steps away from JCPOA and come back into compliance.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman, James Slack, said the announcement was “extremely concerning.”
It comes after the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and imposed heavy new sanctions on Iran.
Slack said Britain will continue working with the remaining signatories, particularly France and Germany, to keep the deal in place.
A senior Russian diplomat says that U.S. sanctions have provoked Iran’s move to break the limit set on its uranium stockpiles.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that Iran had warned of its move in advance. He urged all parties to “avoid escalation,” saying that Iran’s move “causes regret, but shouldn’t be overdramatized.”
Ryabkov characterized the development as a “natural result” of the U.S.’ maximum pressure campaign.
He added that Iran was facing “unprecedented and unthinkable” U.S. sanctions, including an oil trade embargo, which are an attempt to “strangle” the country.
The United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency confirmed Iran’s claim regarding surpassing the stockpile of low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said its director general, Yukiya Amano, has informed its board of governors that the organization had verified Monday Iran’s stockpile of uranium, enriched up to 3.67%, had exceeded the 300 kilograms allowed.