July 3 (UPI) -- After growing its uranium stockpile this week beyond internationally accepted limits, Iran threatened Wednesday to take another step closer to producing nuclear weapons.
Tehran said Monday it had exceeded the stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear deal, a claim quickly confirmed by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.
For months, Iran has asked European signatories to the pact for help mitigating the impact of U.S. sanctions. Officials said last week there isn't much time left to save it.
"Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table. Go back to understanding, to respecting the law and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Under those conditions, all of us can abide by the nuclear deal," Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting Wednesday.
If nothing is done to save the existing agreement or broker a new accord, Rouhani said his government will push its uranium stockpile to "any amount we want."
U.S. President Donald Trump has said the deal places weak limits on Iran's nuclear activity and still allows it to produce a nuclear weapon. The newest U.S. sanctions on Tehran came just last week. Tensions have escalated in recent weeks after a U.S. drone shootdown and attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, punctuated by a direct threat from Trump if Iran attacks "anything American."
Mojtaba Zonnour, chairman of Iran's Majlis Nuclear Committee, said Iran would respond in a "very harsh" manner to any attack from the United States -- with Israel being the primary target.
"Trump is a businessman and is only after financial profits," he said. "With divine power we are fully ready. We have not intended to attack any country and 40 years of the Islamic Revolution manifests this. But if they attack, we are able to cut off any foot and any hand intruding into our soil."
Zannour said Iran could have shot down a U.S. spy plane with 35 crew aboard, but "refrained due to humanitarian concerns."
"We proved that we are powerful, as well as honorable," he said.