Pompeo warns Iran of further sanctions

Secretary of State says a nuclear armed Iran poses an even greater danger to the world after Islamic Republic expands uranium enrichment.

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday warned Iran that it would be subject to new sanctions in the wake of its announcement that it would expand its uranium enrichment beyond the limit permitted in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“Iran’s latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions. Nations should restore the longstanding standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program,” tweeted Pompeo.

“Iran’s regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world,” he added.

Earlier on Sunday, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced the start of enriching uranium to a higher purity level than 3.67%, although he did not announce the final purity level.

“We are fully prepared to enrich uranium at any level and with any amount,” Kamalvandi said during a live news conference.

On Saturday, an Iranian official indicated to Reuters that Iran would increase its uranium enrichment to 5%.

Tensions have been on the rise between Iran and Western powers since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and then imposed a series of crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Iran has threatened to abandon further nuclear commitments unless the deal's remaining partners -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- helped it circumvent US sanctions, especially to sell its oil.

Last Friday, Iran met in Vienna with European, Russian and Chinese officials to discuss ways to save the 2015 nuclear following the US withdrawal.

Iran’s envoy to the meeting in Vienna said that European countries had offered too little to persuade Tehran to back off from its plans to breach limits imposed by the deal.

The EU earlier this year introduced a trade mechanism that would bypass US sanctions on Iran, in a bid to save the 2015 deal, but Iran has rejected that mechanism thus far.