A top aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Friday that the nation is ready to once again defy the 2015 nuclear deal and enrich uranium beyond the limit set by the agreement.
In a taped statement posted to Khamenei’s website, Ali Akbar Velayati said the decision was agreed upon by “every component of the establishment,” according to The Washington Post.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also threatened Wednesday that Iran would enrich uranium to “any amount we want” starting Sunday, The Associated Press reported. Iran has claimed it has no interest in producing nuclear weapons, but enriched uranium is a key component in making them.
“Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table,” Rouhani said.
President Donald Trump responded to Rouhani in a tweet, telling him to “be careful” and cautioning that the threat could “come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before!”
Velayati reportedly said in his video that “Americans directly and Europeans indirectly violated the deal.”
Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018. The European Union, which championed the agreement, has found itself attempting to salvage what’s left of it as the U.S. imposes crushing sanctions on Iran. Still, the United Kingdom, Germany and France remain committed to the deal.
“We will show reaction exponentially as much as they violate it. We reduce our commitments as much as they reduce it,” Velayati said. “If they go back to fulfilling their commitments, we will do so as well.”
The nuclear agreement prohibits Iran from enriching uranium past 3.67%. That’s still a long way from the weapons-grade level of 90%, but even surpassing 20% could prompt the international community to react, NPR international correspondent Peter Kenyon explained.
The violation of the agreement would be Iran’s second. The country acknowledged earlier this month that it had broken the limit on its reserve of low-enriched uranium.