Iran says enriching uranium to five percent

Supreme Leader Khamenei

Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran said Saturday it is now enriching uranium to five percent, after a series of steps back from its commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord with major powers, and slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying it was his "biggest lie" that Iran seeks nuclear weapons.

In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on November 6, 2019, a forklift carries a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride gas for the objective of injecting the gas into centrifuges in Iran's Fordo nuclear facility.

Moscow is calling on all members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, not to test its limits or the agreement might fall apart, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday.

"IAEA inspectors must be allowed to conduct their critical work unimpeded".

Following the successful technical overhaul, the gas injection to the chains as well as the centrifuges and producing and gathering enriched uranium began at Fordow under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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The JCPOA was singed in 2015 in Vienna by Iran, the EU, China, France, Russia, the UK, Germany and the US.

Iran took the fourth phase of reduction of its nuclear commitments in response to the European inaction towards the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement and re-imposition of economic sanctions.

Iran's saber-rattling smacks of desperation, and it's a clear indication that Trump's efforts to pressure the regime are working - even as the US plans to introduce a fresh round of sanctions against advisors to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

European nations have tried to salvage the deal.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has said the uranium enrichment at Fordow is the most serious breach yet of the deal. Macron wanted Zarif to speak with Trump at the summit about the deal but Trump refused to meet with Zarif. As The Wall Street Journal observes, "The Iranian strategy has been to escalate its violations of the deal step by step, hoping to intimidate Mr. Trump and divide the US from Europe". -Israeli ties under his administration. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog has disputed the claim.

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