- Lisi Niesner/Reuters
- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday announced that the country would be rolling back its commitments to the international nuclear agreement it signed in 2015.
- Rouhani gave a deadline of 60 days for the remaining signatories to negotiate sanctions relief or Iran would resume its uranium enrichment.
- In a tweet, Rouhani announced that starting Wednesday the country would no longer limit its enriched uranium and heavy water, which is used in nuclear reactors.
- He issued a warning to the European Union and other nations still signed on to the nuclear agreement, saying they would face “further actions” from Iran if they could not fulfill their “obligations” within 60 days.
- The UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China are still signed on to the international deal. The US announced its departure from the agreement one year ago.
- The announcement comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after a series of retaliatory measures and reports of credible threats in the region.
Iran on Wednesday announced it would be scaling back its commitments to the international nuclear agreement it signed in 2015.
President Hasan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Wednesday that Iran was initiating a “new phase” of the deal, which could see it revive its nuclear program.
The US exited the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, last year. Since then, the Trump administration has also tightened sanctions on Iran, recently vowing to end sanctions waivers that previously allowed several countries to buy Iranian oil.
In his Wednesday speech, Rouhani gave a deadline of 60 days for the countries that remained part of the deal to negotiate sanctions relief, which he said was the only way to stop Iran from resuming its uranium enrichment.
In a tweet, Rouhani announced that starting Wednesday the country would no longer limit its enriched uranium and heavy water, which is used in nuclear reactors.
“Starting today, Iran does not keep its enriched uranium and produced heavy water limited,” Rouhani wrote.
“The EU/E3+2 will face Iran’s further actions if they can not fulfill their obligations within the next 60 days and secure Iran’s interests,” he warned. The E3+2 are the five countries still in the deal: three European nations (France, Germany, and the UK) plus Russia and China.
“Win-Win conditions will be accepted,” he added.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA said earlier in the day that Rouhani would write separate letters to leaders of those countries saying that Iran had “exercised restraint” over the past year but believed other parties involved in the deal “failed to adhere to their commitments.”
The agency said the text of the letters would remain confidential.
“What Iran specifically wants is to return to banking and oil trade conditions before US exit from the deal,” IRNA said.
The announcement comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after a series of retaliatory measures.
On Sunday, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, said the US was deploying a bomber task force and other military resources to the Middle East to demonstrate that the US was prepared to defend its interests with “unrelenting force.”
“In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said in a statement.
A US defense official told the Associated Press that Sunday’s announcement was prompted by “clear indications” that Iranian forces and proxy groups might be preparing to attack US forces.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unscheduled trip to the Iraqi capital to meet with Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Little is known about the trip, though Pompeo told reporters the meeting was linked to recent escalations with Iran.
“It is absolutely the case that we’ve seen escalatory action from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” Pompeo said on Monday before embarking on his trip.