“The countdown has begun:” Iran warns it will breach uranium stockpile limits in 10 days

Iran certainly isn’t planning on backing down in the face of Washington’s accusations about the country’s role in last week’s tanker bombings, and as a result, the possibility of a boots-on-the-ground military conflict in the Islamic Republic cannot yet be ruled out. Making an already tense situation infinitely more precarious, Iran on Monday reminded the world that it’s preparing to violate the terms of the Iran deal during the next ten days.

By increasing its stockpiles of enriched uranium, Iran is bound to elicit accusations that it’s once again working on a nuclear bomb. Tehran has always maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but American neocons like John Bolton have warned that this was merely a ruse and that Iran could target American allies like Israel with a missile.

The Iranian government announced on Monday that it was set to breach the cap on enriched uranium, unless Europe finds a way to trade with Iran, or otherwise fulfill its financial obligations made under the deal.

European officials have been somewhat more skeptical of Iran’s role in last week’s tanker attacks, though many have acknowledged that if this were to be true, it could seriously complicate efforts to preserve the nuclear deal. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who visited Tehran last week, said Germany is still looking at evidence on whether Iran was responsible for last week’s attacks. Meanwhile, the UK has decided to deploy 100 Elite Royal Marines to the region to serve as a “rapid reaction force” to protect British assets.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for the Iranian atomic energy agency, said Iran has “already increased” uranium production at a nuclear research site in Natanz in the central Isfahan province, according to RT.

“From today, the countdown has begun, and by June 27, our uranium production will have surpassed 300kg,” Kamalvandi said.

Last month, Tehran announced that it would partially suspend its commitments under the JCPOA, giving the EU 60 days to reaffirm its commitment to the deal. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kamalvandi criticized the EU, saying that the bloc “either do not want to do something, or they just don’t have the ability to do it,” but he added that “Europeans still have time” to save the deal.