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TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran may raise uranium enrichment to a level of 5 percent for "peaceful" purposes, a top adviser to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday, on the eve of the start of the enrichment program set for Tehran in 2015. Great.

The Iranian President Hassan Rowhani announced earlier that his country will, as of Sunday, to enrich uranium at a level beyond the 3.67% set by the nuclear agreement, in response to the US withdrawal from it and re-impose sanctions on Tehran. Iran has already declared its intention to back down on two of its commitments, which were setting a ceiling for enriched uranium reserves and heavy water.

It has also given 60 days to countries still in the nuclear deal (Germany, Britain, France, China and Russia) to help it circumvent US sanctions, otherwise it will back down from two other commitments. However, Tehran has so far considered their efforts to be insufficient. The deadline expires on Sunday.

For his part, an Iranian official told Reuters on Sunday that Iran will announce on Sunday that it will raise the level of uranium enrichment to 5 percent, exceeding the 3.67 set by the nuclear agreement signed in 2015. The official, who asked not to be named "The main announcement tomorrow will raise the level of enrichment to Five percent of the 3.67 percent agreed upon under the agreement"He said.

Berlin Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer und Angela Merkel (picture-alliance / dpa / M. Kappeler)

Kramp Carnbauer with Merkel, Archive

Merkel's party leader is responding

The European response came quickly from Ingrid Kramp Karinbauer, head of the Christian Democratic Party, which belongs to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The conservative German leader said European leaders might have to consider imposing sanctions on Iran if it stepped up uranium enrichment.

The Karambauer statement marks the latest sign of Europe's challenge to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive, an agreement that the United States pulled out last year, the Bloomberg News Agency reported on Thursday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that an emergency meeting would be held on July 10 at the request of the United States to discuss Iran's violation of the nuclear deal. Tehran has also warned that starting Sunday it may resume work at the heavy water reactor Arak, which is suspended according to the terms of the nuclear agreement.

By REUTERS (Reuters)

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