Behrouz Kamalvandi

The Iranian government says it will exceed the amount of low-enriched uranium it is allowed to keep under the nuclear deal in 10 days.

A spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi told journalists on Sunday that Tehran would increase the amount of enriched uranium to one which is ‘based on the country’s needs’.

“We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300kg limit,” Kamalvandi said.

Kamalvandi, whose comments were carried live on a state-run television channel was speaking at Iran’s Arak heavy water plant, one of a series of nuclear facilities across the country.

He added that Iran needed to increase enrichment until some of the Uranium it uses has a 20% concentration of uranium-235, an isotope of the radioactive material which can sustain a fission reaction.

The statement comes in the wake of increased tension in the Middle East following attacks on oil tankers that the United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed on Iran and after the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 deal.

The nuclear deal between Iran, the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany called the JCPOA reduced Iran’s stockpile of uranium by 98% to 300kg which must not be exceeded until 2031.