Trump: Tehran is 'doing a lot of bad things'
By You Yang, Yang Xiao

Iran says it has enriched uranium to 4.5 percent, breaking the limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal. The UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has confirmed the development.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said five percent purity could be used to help meet the country's energy needs. "This level of purity completely satisfies the power plant fuel requirements of the country," said Behrooz Kamalvandi.

But Tehran says it may not stop at five percent, threatening to cut deeper into the terms of the 2015 accord. "Enriching uranium to 20 percent is an option for Iran's third step in reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal," added Kamalvandi.

U.S. President Donald Trump. /Xinhua Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump. /Xinhua Photo

Tehran wants the deal's remaining signatories following the U.S. withdrawal to come up with "practical and concrete" measures to counter Washington's crippling economic sanctions. The U.S. pulled out of the accord last year, reimposing restrictions on many sectors, including Iran's crucial oil and financial industries.

Tehran insists there are provisions in the deal that allow it to respond to other breaches by reducing its own compliance.

The move has angered the American leadership. U.S. President Donald Trump said, "Iran's doing a lot of bad things. And remember this, the Obama agreement was the most foolish agreement that you'll ever find. It expires in a very short period of time. So whether you have this conversation now, or in a number of years from now, a few number of years, a very important conversation. Except the way they want it, they would have automatic rights to have nuclear weapons. Iran will never have a nuclear weapon."

Iranian national flag /Xinhua Photo

Iranian national flag /Xinhua Photo

Trump's words were echoed by his Vice President Mike Pence. Pence noted that "Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve. We will continue to oppose Iran's malign influence. We will continue to bring pressure on their economy and under President Donald Trump, America will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon."

But a shouting match doesn't provide any solutions. Iran's Revolutionary Guards say the world knows Tehran is not pursuing nuclear arms. But enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, as Iran has threatened, would be a bold move as it brings it ever closer to creating that nuclear weapon.

With tensions between Tehran and Washington at boiling point, it looks like European countries will have to find a way forward. The French President was sending his top diplomatic advisor to Iran on Tuesday with Macron having already spoken to Trump over the phone in a bid to bring calm.