Iran will partially withdraw from the 2015 landmark nuclear deal signed with six other nations, President Hassan Rouhani announced on Wednesday, a move that comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the pact.
In a televised speech, Rouhani said that Tehran would reduce its “commitments” to the deal, but would not fully withdraw and that signatories of the deal — France, the UK, Germany, Russia and China — had been informed in advance of the move.
According to the President, Iran would keep enriched uranium stocks in the country and not sell them abroad. He also threatened to resume production of higher enriched uranium in 60 days.
Rouhani accused “hardliners” in the US of working to undermine the agreement, saying it was “in the interests of the region and the world, but not the enemies of Iran, therefore they spared no effort since 2015 to undermine (the deal)”, CNN reported.
The accord is aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief, but Tehran-Washington tensions have risen since the US withdrew from the deal. US President Donald Trump later reimposed sanctions on Tehran, hitting its economy.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not any more see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves,” Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said in a statement.
The SNSC said other partners would have 60 days to lift pressure from Iran caused by the US sanctions, otherwise the country “will cease implementation of restrictions on uranium enrichment levels”.
The announcement comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unscheduled visit to Iraq, and a US aircraft carrier was deployed to the Gulf region.