Iran uses anniversary of US Embassy seizure to announce nuclear deal violations

Iran uses anniversary of US Embassy seizure to announce nuclear deal violations
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Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Monday with an announcement that the country is now in specific violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement signed by the U.S. and several European nations.

USA Today reported that Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Monday that the country is now operating 60 IR-6 centrifuges, which enrich uranium at a faster rate than other types of centrifuges operated by the country. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran may only operate 30 IR-6 centrifuges once an initial delay period ending in 2023 passes.

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Iran's top military commander said Monday in a speech covered on state television that Iran's shadow now covered the entire Middle East.

“Thanks to God, today the revolution’s seedlings have evolved into a fruitful and huge tree that its shadow has covered the entire” region, he reportedly said.

The Trump administration, he added, was pushing for the “surrender of Iran in a gift wrap of words like negotiation and engagement."

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been high for weeks amid attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iranian forces earlier this year and a stated unwillingness by Tehran to negotiate with Trump officials they blame for withdrawing the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement last year, throwing the deal's future into question as Iran's government has demanded that European nations remaining in the pact assist Iran in working around crushing U.S. sanctions. 

The 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was a diplomatic crisis that led to a 444-day hostage situation, with dozens of hostages remaining in Iranian custody throughout President Carter's final years in office.