Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared Wednesday that the country would partially stop complying with a landmark nuclear deal it signed in 2015 with six other nations.
The announcement comes a year to the day since President Donald Trump wholly withdrew the United States from the commitment that limited Iran’s nuclear fuel production for 15 years, citing those limitations were inadequate and that the deal was “defective at its core.”
On Wednesday, Rouhani said in a nationally televised speech that he informed the other signatories of the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — that they had 60 days to decide to either pull out of the deal or trade for oil with Iran in violation of U.S.-imposed sanctions, the New York Times reported.
“The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy,” he said. “But diplomacy with a new language and a new logic.”
He said the country would stockpile low enriched uranium and heavy water and that it would restart its Arak nuclear reactor, which it shuttered and partially dismantled under the agreement, if Iran is not compensated for losses it will incur following Trump’s April 25 cancellation of temporary waivers permitting countries including Iraq, Turkey, India, Japan and China to purchase Iranian oil without breaking U.S. sanctions.
A statement from Iran’s Supreme National Security Council published by the semi-official Fars News Agency said Iran would resume its obligations to the deal once its demands are met, CNN reported.
“Otherwise, the Islamic Republic of Iran will stop compliance with its other undertakings in consequent phases,” the SNSC said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran’s actions are within the terms of the deal.
“After a year of patience, Iran stops measures that United States has made impossible to continue,” he said.
Iran’s threat to withdraw from the deal comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
On Monday, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced the deployment of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and Air Force B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over fears of missiles being moved with the capability of striking U.S. targets.
Shanahan said on Twitter the move represents a “prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by the Iranian regime forces,” adding, “we will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on U.S. forces or our interests.”
Following the announced deployment, Pompeo was in Iraq on a secret trip Tuesday in response to Iran “escalating their activity” to assure Baghdad the United States would support its sovereignty.