Tehran Iran — Iran’s president said Wednesday that the Islamic Republic will stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water from its nuclear program as stipulated by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with world powers. President Hassan Rouhani set a 60-day deadline for new terms to be reached by the nations still trying to keep the deal viable, and said if that didn’t happen, Iran would resume enriching uranium to higher levels.
Rouhani’s address to the nation came on the anniversary of President Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from the landmark agreement. Rouhani said Iran wanted to negotiate new terms with the remaining partners in the deal, but acknowledged that the situation was dire.Iran sent letters Wednesday on its decision to the leaders of Britain, China, the European Union, France and Germany via their ambassadors in Tehran. All were signatories to the nuclear deal and continue to support it. A letter also was given to Russia. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to meet Wednesday in Moscow with his Russian counterpart.
“We felt that the nuclear deal needs a surgery and the painkiller pills of the last year have been ineffective,” Rouhani said. “This surgery is for saving the deal, not destroying it.”The 2015 agreement saw sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for the regime putting limits on its nuclear program. After the U.S. withdrew from the accord, the Trump administration restored crippling sanctions against Iran, exacerbating a severe economic crisis. The Trump administration has vowed to reduce Iran’s vital oil exports to zero, by pressuring other countries to stop buying Iranian petroleum products.”If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitments according to the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said.However, Rouhani warned of a “strong reaction” if European leaders instead seek to impose more sanctions on Iran via the U.N. Security Council. He did not elaborate. Zarif, on his visit to Moscow, issued his own warning via Twitter, saying that, “after a year of patience, Iran stops measures that (the) US has made impossible to continue.” He said the remaining countries had “a narrowing window to reverse this.”The Reuters news service cited sources in the office of French President Emmanuel Macron as saying worldwide sanctions could be reimposed on Tehran if it reneges on terms of the nuclear deal. Iran moving missiles by boat, official saysThere was no immediate response from the U.S. to Iran’s partial withdrawal announcement, but it came three days after the White House dispatched an aircraft carrier and a bomber wing to the Persian Gulf over what it described as a new threat from Iran.