WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump warned Iran on Sunday (July 7) over its imminent breach of a uranium enrichment cap.
"Iran better be careful, because you enrich for one reason, and I won't tell you what that reason is. But it's no good. They better be careful," he told reporters in Morristown, New Jersey.
Mr Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, earlier Sunday said Iran will face further sanctions in response to the expected breach of the cap set by an endangered nuclear deal reached with international powers but from which the United States withdrew last year.
The 3.67 per cent enrichment limit set in the agreement is far below the more than 90 per cent level required for a nuclear warhead.
"Iran's latest expansion of its nuclear programme will lead to further isolation and sanctions," Mr Pompeo said on Twitter.
Iran also threatened to abandon more of its commitments unless a solution is found with parties to the landmark 2015 agreement.
The deal saw Iran commit not to acquire an atomic bomb, to accept drastic limits on its nuclear program and to submit to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections in exchange for a partial lifting of crippling international sanctions.
But President Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the deal on May 8, 2018 - and subsequent sanctions - have deprived Iran of the economic benefits it expected and plunged it into recession.
"Nations should restore the long-standing standard of no enrichment for Iran's nuclear programme. Iran's regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world," Mr Pompeo said.
Even after the US pullout, experts said Iran had been complying with the agreement.
But Teheran, which has sought to pressure the remaining parties to save the deal, on May 8 announced it would no longer respect the limits set on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles.
It also threatened to go further and abandon more nuclear commitments unless the remaining partners - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - help it to circumvent sanctions, especially to sell its oil.