As Iran walks back nuke deal obligations, Europeans struggle to preserve accord

US fmr. official warns Trump allies against military conflict with Iran

US to counter Iran with military force deployment: Pentagon - Xinhua |

Since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the accord, the U.S. has restored crippling economic sanctions on Iran even as Tehran continued to abide by the accord, according to United Nations inspectors.

Iran's president said Wednesday that it will begin keeping its excess uranium and heavy water from its nuclear program, setting a 60-day deadline for new terms to its nuclear deal with world powers before it will resume higher uranium enrichment. Weapons-grade uranium needs to be enriched to around 90%.

And he said that if the other countries in the accord haven't figured out a way to shield Iran's oil and banking industries from USA sanctions, Iran will begin enriching uranium to higher levels, ending a commitment made under the deal.

Pompeo was restrained in his own assessment of the letter that Iran sent to the JCPOA group outlining its intentions.

Iran's threat to withdraw from the deal comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries. "The ball is now in the court of the deal's remaining signatories to choose between challenging USA unilateral sanctions [and] witnessing additional Iranian violations leading to eventual unraveling of the deal". "We "know how important the JCPOA is and its crumbling will have a negative impact on the region and the world", he said". Some high-ranking USA officials believe that there are only conservatives and ultra-conservatives in Iran. Iran has stopped its sale of excess uranium and heavy water as a first step - something required under the deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weaponry in a speech marking Israel's Memorial Day. "The real problem is that we are now back to the races with a 60-day Iranian clock and doubtless USA retaliation with more sanctions to come".

Analysts believe Tehran's ultimatum amounts to a new strategy in an attempt to improve its situation now or pressure the other signatories of the deal and seek better terms from Trump's eventual successor.

But they have also warned Iran that it must continue to comply with all aspects of the deal, especially the elements relating to nuclear activity.

"Since our exit from the Iran deal, which is broken beyond fix, the United States has put forward 12 conditions that offer the basis of a comprehensive agreement with Iran", the president said in a statement.

The US last week stopped issuing waivers for countries importing Iranian crude oil, a crucial source of cash for Iran's government.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is to send a letter informing the remaining parties to the deal - the UK, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - of Iran's decision, its state news agency Irna said. China called on all parties concerned to "exercise restraint" and avoid a further escalation in tensions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also tweeted that, "After a year of patience, Iran stops measures that [the United States] has made impossible to continue". The powers have remained in a precarious state of agreement with Iran during the past year regarding the terms of the deal and the economic benefits it allowed, while the Trump administration takes an increasingly hard line - one that has become more pronounced in recent days.

Mr Zarif said the move was in response to American withdrawal from the JCPOA saying that Washington's attempts under the Trump administration were aimed at derailing the deal. On Sunday, White House national security adviser John Bolton, announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force would be deployed early to the Persian Gulf in response to alleged information suggesting an Iranian plot to target USA interests in the region.

Iran's hard-line Javan newspaper, associated with the Revolutionary Guard, said Wednesday would "ignite the matchstick for burning the deal".

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