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Iran announces increase in uranium enrichment

Iran announces increase in uranium enrichment
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Iranian officials announced Sunday that Tehran will increase its uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under the Obama-era nuclear deal amid rising tensions with the U.S., according to The Associated Press

Officials said during a news conference the level would rise beyond the 3.67 percent cap, without providing specifics, the AP reported. 

"Within hours, the technical tasks will be done and enrichment above 3.67 percent will begin,” Iran nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi reportedly said. “We predict that the IAEA measurements early tomorrow morning will show that we have gone beyond 3.67 percent.”

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Iran's breach of the multinational agreement is not unprecedented. President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. 

In May, Iran announced it was quadrupling its uranium production capacity and mid-June it would exceed the stockpile limit by the end of the month. 

Tehran gave remaining signatories a July 7 deadline before taking further steps toward increasing uranium enrichment levels. 

Abbas Araghchi, a deputy foreign minister, said Iranian officials sent a letter to the European Union outlining the steps Iran has taken, AP reports. Discussions with European leaders are continuing with talks planned later this month. 

French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronTrump addresses virtual G-20 summit, heads out before session on pandemic G-20 leaders stress importance of united response to coronavirus pandemic Czech president says Trump should quit after election loss and 'not be embarrassing' MORE and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed to resume talks by July 15 to save the nuclear deal during a phone call, according to the BBC.

Israel's energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, said on Sunday that Iran is "brushing off" red lines that were agreed to and has "begun its march, a march that is not simple, toward nuclear weaponry," Reuters noted.

--This report was updated at 8:45 a.m.