'Iran Must Seize UK Oil Vessel If Tanker Not Released'

Bunkering oil tankers stand on the sea around Gibraltar port

The Iranian government on Sunday said it would once again breach its 2015 nuclear deal by raising its enrichment of uranium beyond limits agreed with several world powers.

The U.K.'s seizure of the Iranian tanker in waters east of Gibraltar on Thursday came amid heightened military tensions between Iran and the United States, sparked by President Donald Trump's violation of the nuclear accord past year and continued belligerent threats.

"We are extremely concerned at Iran's announcement that it has started uranium enrichment above the limit of 3.67 percent, which is stipulated in the JCPOA".

At a news conference, Iranian officials said the new level of uranium enrichment would be reached later in the day, but did not provide the percentage they planned to hit.

US President Donald Trump threatened Iran on Wednesday its threats might "come back to bite" after Tehran declared to pass the utmost uranium enhancement level approved by a landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an announcement by his country's arch-foe Iran that it would breach the uranium enrichment cap set by an endangered nuclear deal a "very risky step".

On the anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal, Iran gave a 60-day deadline to the remaining signatories of the deal - China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom - to protect it from USA sanctions. He added that future concentration will be based on Iran's needs.

Under the 2015 deal between Iran and six powers, most worldwide sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for limitations on its nuclear work.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the step was extremely unsafe and was designed to create atomic bombs, and again called on Europe to impose punitive sanctions on Tehran.

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Even after the U.S. pullout, experts said Iran had been complying with the agreement.

The IAEA has repeatedly said it is up to the parties to the deal to decide whether there has been a breach of its terms.

The statement said the two leaders had agreed "to explore by July 15 the conditions for the resumption of dialogue between all parties" - beyond a Sunday deadline announced by Iran.

Iran denied Sunday that an oil tanker detained by Britain in Gibraltar was carrying crude to Syria, which would put it in violation of European Union sanctions.

The Iran nuclear deal dispute resolution mechanism will not be triggered for now, said a source at Macron's Elysee office.

Six countries signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear programme.

"It is a very, very risky step", he said.

Mr Araghchi said European governments had failed to fulfil their obligations under the accord.

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