A bold move from the Iranians shocked European leaders with a clear violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The regime confirmed to have seized a South Korean oil tanker the same day they increased Uranium production.
According to the Washington Examiner, Iran confirmed it seized an oil tanker off South Korea on the same day state media announced the increased uranium enrichment of up to 20% in one of the country’s underground facilities, thereby further escalating tensions with the West.
The news outlet reported that the increase of uranium enrichment at the Iranian’s underground Fordo facility had been the biggest violation of the 2015 nuclear deal since US President Trump pulled out from the agreement three years ago. The country’s move was “only a technical step” away from grade enrichment of weapons.
According to the Associated Press, Tehran cited “oil pollution” as the cause for seizing the MT Hankuk Chemi oil tanker. However, the country has previously claimed to expect a South Korean ambassador in Tehran to negotiate the release of massive assets amounting to billions of dollars frozen in Seoul.
Iran has yet to acknowledge the location of the vessel.
“A few minutes ago, the process of producing enriched uranium to 20% purity has begun. And the first product of UF6 enriched uranium will be produced in a few hours,” said Tehran spokesman Ali Rabiei to Tasnim News.
In December, Iran passed a bill to increase nuclear enrichment if the incoming US president failed to lift sanctions against the country by February. However, before approval of the bill, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed opposition, claiming it would cause more harm in restoring diplomatic relations with the US.
Rouhani then gave the order to increase enrichment of Uranium at the Fordo facility.