Iran announced Wednesday it was partially withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal, marking a serious escalation in Tehran's faceoff with the United States.
President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech that iran would reduce its "commitments" to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, but would not fully withdraw, amid heightened pressure from the US in recent weeks.
From this week on, Iran will keep its excess enriched uranium and heavy water, rather than sell it to other countries as previously agreed to limit its stockpile, Rouhani said.
He also said drastic measures would be implemented unless the remaining signatories of the deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- eased restrictions on Iran's banking and oil sectors in the next 60 days. The measures include removing caps on uranium enrichment levels, and resuming work on its Arak nuclear facility.
The move comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal, over the stringent objections of other signatories. In a press conference today, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the US's exit from both the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and the JCPOA as "dangerous," according to Iranian semi-official FARS news.
Following Rouhani's announcement, the White House responded with new sanctions on Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors. In a statement, US President donald trump warned that "Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct."