Iran reopens nuclear plant that had been idle for nine years

The government of Iran has ordered a formerly idle nuclear plant to resume operations on Wednesday to be ready in case discussions with European leaders over saving the nuclear agreement vacated by the Trump administration fall through.

Reuters reports that a statement on the website of Iran's atomic energy agency (AEOI) confirmed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ordered the plant's reopening for the first time in nine years in preparation for the possibility of talks breaking down.

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“Iran has imported a huge amount of yellow cake since the nuclear deal” was signed in 2015 and has also produced some domestically, according to the statement on AEOI's website. Iran restricted its enrichment of uranium ore, commonly called yellow cake, under the deal signed under the Obama administration.

The move is permissible under the deal, which restricts the country from enriching weapons-grade uranium and caps the country's allowed stockpile of enriched uranium at 660 pounds.

The move comes after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned European leaders in a letter that time to save the 2015 agreement from collapse without America's input was running out.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans move to block Yemen war-powers votes for rest of Congress Trump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Michael Flynn asks judge to spare him from jail time MORE announced last month that the U.S. would withdraw from the deal, which he had blasted during his campaign and presidency as "horrible" and "one-sided."

“Today’s action sends a critical message: the United States no longer makes empty threats,” Trump said during a televised address last month.

The announcement was followed by a joint statement from the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany, who pledged to do whatever possible to salvage the agreement with Iran.

“Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement,” they said.