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Iran positioning itself for rapid nuclear breakout: Pompeo

File photo: Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Washington Nov 07, 2019, 06.26 PM (IST)

As Iran announced it was resuming uranium enrichment at its underground facility at the Fordow plant, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is "positioning itself for a rapid nuclear breakout".

"Iran’s plans to increase its nuclear activity at Fordow raise concerns that Iran is positioning itself for a rapid nuclear breakout," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, adding,"it is now time for all nations to reject its nuclear extortion and increase pressure."

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Iran said today that engineers had begun feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into the plant in "the first minutes of Thursday". 

France which is one of the signatories of the nuclear deal termed it a "grave" decision with President Macron saying the resumption of uranium enrichment was a "profound change" from Tehran's previous position.

The next few weeks will be dedicated to increasing pressure on Iran to return within the framework of the pact, the French president said.

"A return to normal can only take place if the United States and Iran agree to reopen a sort of trust agenda" and dialogue, Macron added.

Meanwhile, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab had said that a "way forward" was needed "through constructive international dialogue".  

"Iran needs to stand by the commitments it made and urgently return to full compliance," Dominic Raab said.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas had said Iran must "rollback" its decision to resume uranium enrichment.

"We call on Iran to reverse all steps taken since July and return to full compliance with its commitments," Maas said, adding, "Our aim is to maintain the nuclear agreement."

"We have always fully implemented our commitments and Iran must now urgently relent in order to ease tensions," Mass added.

On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump had announced that the United States will quit the 2015 pact and reinstate sanctions against Iran. From August to November last year, the Trump administration reimposed sanctions targeting Iran's oil and finance sectors. 

In May this year, Iran had announced it will suspend commitments on limiting the amount of heavy water and enriched uranium it possesses even as the US imposed sanctions on Iran's steel and minining sectors.  

Story highlights

Iran said today that engineers had begun feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into the plant in 'the first minutes of Thursday'.