The U.S. said Monday it is “not surprised” by Iran’s announcement that it would exceed limits on its nuclear program it accepted as part of a historic 2015 accord brokered with world powers.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters Iran should continue to abide by its obligations to the international community under the agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from in May 2018.
She said Monday’s announcement by Iran is “consistent” with that government’s past behavior, calling it “unfortunate” while urging the international community to “not yield to nuclear extortion by the Iranian regime.”
Iran said earlier Monday it would break by June 27 the internationally-agreed upon limit of enriched uranium stockpiles under the 2015 nuclear deal.
The announcement is an attempt to build pressure on the European signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, who have been seeking to salvage the agreement following Trump’s decision to exit the pact.
Tensions have been steadily rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year when the U.S. withdrew.
The Trump administration has since embarked upon a diplomatic and economic campaign to ramp up pressure on Iran to force it to renegotiate the agreement, and other behavior not covered by the original pact that the administration views as destabilizing behavior.
Part of its campaign includes the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on exports of Iranian crude oil, which has sent the Iranian economy into a nosedive.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is departing Washington for Florida where he will meet with Central Command Commander Kenneth McKenzie, and Gen. Richard Clark, head of Special Operations Command.
Pompeo will “discuss regional security concerns and ongoing operation” during meetings that begin Tuesday, according to the department.