On Saturday, Trump said he would impose additional sanctions against Iran in a bid to prevent the country obtaining nuclear weapons.World Politicsread more
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran will likely escalate in the near future, a former adviser to the Iranian government said on Monday.Energyread more
Chinese vice commerce minister said Monday that Beijing would like the U.S. to cancel "inappropriate" actions against Chinese companies.China Economyread more
A decisive win for Turkey's main opposition party in a re-run of a mayoral election in Istanbul this weekend has prompted hopes for economic and political change.Europe Politicsread more
Sixteen Asia Pacific countries have been negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership since 2013, with India's reluctance to open up its markets a major...Asia Economyread more
The secretary of State said he was traveling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to make sure that the U.S. is "strategically aligned" with its allies.Politicsread more
Experts say Facebook's cryptocurrency project Libra has been a catalyst for the price of bitcoin going higher.Technologyread more
Goldman Sachs helped state firm 1MDB to raise $6.5 billion in 2012 and 2013, and collected higher-than-typical fees of $600 million for the deals.Financeread more
Value investing has become increasingly irrelevant thanks to central banks and technology, according to AB Bernstein.Investingread more
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said all 16 countries negotiating a mega Asia-Pacific trade agreement should remain in the framework.World Economyread more
Stocks in Asia Pacific traded mixed on Monday afternoon, while oil prices continued to rise as tensions between the U.S. and Iran lingered after the latter shot down an...Asia Marketsread more
Iran is ramping up its uranium output, a provocative step that threatens to further inflame simmering tensions with the United States and deepen regional conflict following a series of dangerous escalations in the Middle East.
Iranian production of low-enriched uranium has recently increased fourfold, putting the nation on a path to exceed limits on nuclear materials set out in a 2015 agreement with world powers, a spokesperson for Iran's atomic energy agency told Iranian news outlets on Monday.
The supplies in question are not enriched to a level suitable for weapons development. Still, the increased output threatens to further erode the Iran nuclear deal and destabilize a region that provides much of the world's energy supply.
The stockpiling also raises concerns about the proliferation of nuclear materials, said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
"We are woefully underappreciating the seriousness of this crisis," she said.
President Donald Trump announced he would pull the U.S. out of the nuclear accord and restore wide-ranging economic sanctions against Iran just over a year ago. The other parties to the deal — China, Russia and the European Union — condemned the U.S. withdrawal and have attempted to preserve the agreement, which put limits on Iran's nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran continued to abide by the terms of the deal until Washington sharply escalated tensions last month.
In April, the Trump administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization and announced it would tighten sanctions in a bid to drive Iran's oil exports to zero. Shortly after the new U.S. sanctions policy took effect this month, Iran said it would stop complying with key parts of the nuclear deal.
Last week, Iran began delivering on that threat by continuing to enrich uranium, even though U.S. sanctions waivers allowing Iran to ship excess uranium to Russia and heavy water to Oman expired. Without the permissions to send those materials out of the country, Iran would have eventually overshot the amount of uranium and heavy water it is allowed to stockpile under the nuclear deal — unless it completely stopped enrichment activity.
But the comments from Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi on Monday suggest Iran is not just on pace to exceed the uranium cap but is now racing toward it.
"The comparison here is they were already going 55 miles per hour and heading towards a busted bridge. And so what the AEOI is saying is that they threw a brick on the accelerator," said Richard Nephew, a lead sanctions expert for the State Department team that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal under President Barack Obama.
"They would have eventually breached the threshold. What they're saying today is they are deliberately and intentionally trying to breach the threshold faster," said Nephew, now a senior research scholar at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy.
For the moment, Iran is not exceeding the enrichment cap of 3.67% uranium, an amount consistent with civilian nuclear power development. However, Iran has threatened to blow past that level if Europe and the remaining parties to the nuclear accord do not take measures to bolster the Iranian economy.
Though uranium must be enriched to 90% to make weapons, much of the work to reach that tipping point has already been done once uranium is enriched within a range of 3% to 4%.
The latest escalation follows a troubling series of events in recent weeks, including the expedited deployment of U.S. military assets to the Persian Gulf, an attack on four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a drone strike by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels on Saudi oil infrastructure.
On Sunday, a rocket struck the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, the seat of Iraqi power and the international community. The same day, Trump tweeted that if Iran wants a fight, it would be "the official end of Iran."
"The market just believes it's like a perpetual game of brinkmanship and we never hit the tripwire," said RBC's Croft. "The question is can we keep playing chicken without having a head-on collision?"
— CNBC's Natasha Turak contributed to this story.