Iran announced on June 17 that it would soon exceed its limit of 300 kilograms of low-grade enriched uranium, and thereafter increase uranium enrichment to 3.7%, up from 3.67%. That level of enrichment is used for electricity generation in a nuclear power plant. A uranium enrichment level of 90% is needed for nuclear weapons.
From the June 18 edition of Fox Business' Making Money with Charles Payne:
CHARLES PAYNE (HOST): Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promising the latest announcement of a plan to send 1,000 more troops to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran was defensive, not offensive. Iran has said it's just days away from enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels that would have been banned under the 2015 deal President Trump withdrew from. And the U.S. is also accusing Iran of attacking two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf. Iran denies responsibility, insisting it does not want war. Joining me now, former State Department adviser Christian Whiton.
CHRISTIAN WHITON (FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT ADVISER): There comes a point where we're actually going to have to react to this more with than with just words and deterrence, and talk about protecting shipping and actually take away some of their capabilities, whether those are their maritime capabilities or their nuclear capabilities.
WHITON: I just think that if you look at what Secretary Pompeo laid out and go back through Iran’s 40-year history of this Islamic regime where it's gotten away repeatedly with killing hundreds and hundreds and perhaps thousands of Americans in Iraq, and Beirut and elsewhere, there's going to have to be some sort of kinetic action in order to put them back into a box.
PAYNE: Could that kinetic action come in 10 days when these uranium levels exceed the agreed upon cap that was already in place?
WHITON: It could. It's still unclear where the Trump administration wants to go with this. And up on Capitol Hill it seems like there are more voices that want restraint. Of course Iran gets a vote in that too. It's important to note, I think as you imply, that this can be a limited campaign to take away Iran’s maritime capabilities to harass shipping and their nuclear capabilities, which are spread around a few complexes, but the main ones to enrich uranium are at Natanz. They have uranium centrifuges there, advanced ones. So striking against those -- this doesn’t need to be anything like Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya.