Iran nuclear deal: Powers await Rouhani announcement

National Security Advisor John Bolton in April 2018. By Evan El-Amin  Shutterstock

National Security Advisor John Bolton in April 2018. By Evan El-Amin Shutterstock

Today, we are announcing a reduction of our obligations under the deal. He did not elaborate. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to meet Wednesday in Moscow with his Russian counterpart.

The world powers lifted nuclear-related sanctions in January 2016.

"The Iran deal closed off Iran's paths to a nuclear weapon", said Parsi.

In exchange for the limitations on its nuclear program, which also included no enrichment of uranium at higher levels that could be used for nuclear weapons, Iran won relief from sanctions that had badly hurt its economy. The enriching process could put Iran on track to developing nuclear weapons.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly warned that if Iran did not keep its commitments, then the question of triggering a mechanism that could lead to sanctions would be on the table.

He was referring to the hardest-hitting parts of USA sanctions against Iran following America's pull-out from the JCPOA.

Noting that Iran now cooperates on issues like controlling immigration and targeting Afghan opium and hashish traffickers, he said: "You are obliged ... for your own security, for protecting your youths against drugs as well as controlling influx of immigrants".

"Today's announcement from Tehran unwelcome step", junior Foreign Office minister Mark Field told Britain's Parliament.

Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), expressed concern about the Iranian government's decision to begin pulling back from the nuclear accord-but noted the move did not "occur in a vacuum".

The former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration's recent escalation of tensions with Iran - saying she "can't imagine a more unsafe situation than the one we're in now".

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"Russia and China fulfilled their obligations. but other parties, including the Europeans, have not been honouring their commitments", said Zarif, saying his country's retreat from certain aspects of the deal was legal and could be reversed.

Rouhani on Wednesday appeared on TV to declare Iranian reciprocal action to United States over the breach of JCPOA by scale-down of Iran's commitments envisaged by Note 26 of the nuclear deal. Tehran has consistently claimed its nuclear program was peaceful, but Israel has disagreed and actively campaigned against the deal.

The weeks leading up to the anniversary of Trump's withdrawal from the agreement have seen a sharp tightening of USA sanctions and an increase in tensions on other fronts.

Iran's partners in the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran had mixed reactions to Iran's partial withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with Russian Federation and China supporting Tehran, while European powers sending warnings to Iran.

"President [Vladimir Putin] has repeatedly spoken of the consequences of unthought-out steps regarding Iran, and by that I mean the decision taken by Washington [to quit the deal]".

Washington has also blacklisted Iran's Revolutionary Guards force as a terrorist organization and Iran responded with threats to close the Gulf's strait of Hormuz if its ships were blocked there.

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that USA actions had made it impossible for Iran to continue the way it was, and that the other signatories have "a narrowing window to reverse this".

European backers of the deal have been trying to salvage the agreement, but Tehran has complained that the process was too slow.

A sudden White House announcement that a USA aircraft carrier and a bomber wing would be deployed in the Persian Gulf to counter Iran comes just days ahead of the anniversary of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from Tehran's nuclear deal.

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