While Iran was found to have had covert enrichment sites long before the nuclear accord, the deal also imposed the most intrusive nuclear supervision on Iran of any country, and there has been no serious suggestion Iran is secretly enriching now.
Iran says it will continue to breach the deal's caps one by one until it receives the economic windfall - trade and investment deals with the wider world - promised under terms of the agreement. Tehran has been appealing to the remaining signatories to the deal - Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia and China - to help it overcome the crippling effect of the USA move to curb Iran's worldwide financial transactions and global oil trade.
Iran says it is reacting to harsh US economic sanctions imposed on Tehran since Trump pulled out of world powers' 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic past year, and all its steps were reversible if Washington returned to the deal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, denied the supertanker belonged to Iran, saying whoever owned the oil shipment and the vessel could pursue the case through legal avenues.
Following the United States withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the deal. Otherwise, Iran would keep scaling down its commitments under the deal.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ali Shamkhani, a senior security official, told Bonne that the decision to increase enrichment is an "unchangeable strategy".
But Tehran said Monday it started enriching uranium beyond the deal's 3.67% limit as part of scaling down of its commitments under the nuclear pact.
The historic agreement promised sanctions relief, economic benefits, and an end to global isolation in return for stringent curbs on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.
Ravanchi said reports that Iran may dramatically raise levels of uranium enrichment to 20% purity in "phase 3" were hypothetical. "Under global control, it poses no risks for non-proliferation", the ambassador said in a Twitter post.
Bolton sarcastically thanked Zarif for his "kind words", and tweeted that someday he would explain to Zarif how to end a "bad deal".
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"It is better for the British government to release this ship as soon as possible otherwise there will be consequences", he said.
Iran says it is responding to punishing economic sanctions Washington has imposed on Tehran since it pulled out of the deal a year ago.
"The only path to sanctions relief is through such negotiations, not nuclear extortion", said the United States envoy to the IAEA, Jackie Wolcott.
Wolcott reiterated that Washington believes the deal was ineffective, but remains "open to negotiation without preconditions". Any country on the board can call a meeting under International Atomic Energy Agency rules.
These moves come as part of a series of aggressive actions by the US and Iran. Low-enriched uranium provides fuel for civilian power plants. The IAEA has verified both developments.
After Washington withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018, it reimposed stinging sanctions on Tehran, hitting the banking and oil sectors hard.
"It must act accordingly by reversing these activities and returning to full JCPoA compliance without delay", said a statement from the European Union and foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain.
Tehran appears to have lost patience with the European countries in seeking relief from the US sanctions.
As the Iranian economy went into free fall, Iran demanded that the other parties to the deal - especially France, Germany and Britain - deliver promised economic benefits and help it bypass the United States sanctions.
Hassan Rouhani was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as calling the seizure "mean and wrong" during a Cabinet meeting.