Iran announces partial withdrawal from nuclear deal

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Netanyahu has been an outspoken opponent of Iran's landmark nuclear deal with major powers and was the leading supporter of US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from it and reimpose crippling economic sanctions past year. Iranian media say Rouhani is expected to deliver a nationwide address as soon as Wednesday, May 8, 2019, regarding the steps the country will take.

Rouhani gave the countries remaining in the deal - France, Germany, Russia, China and the United Kingdom - 60 days to establish a strategy to navigate around stringent USA banking and trade sanctions. "Win-Win conditions will be accepted", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter on Wednesday. "Trump had created a freakish situation in which Iran was more sanctioned for abiding by a nuclear agreement than it was when the USA accused it of violating one".

The nuclear deal was the flagship policy of Rouhani, who won two landslide elections on promises to end Iran's isolation and open its economy up to the world.

Rouhani said those signatories - France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China - had been informed in advance of Tehran's move.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went a step further, saying the situation surrounding the fate of the 2015 nuclear accord has been complicated by "irresponsible behavior" from Washington.

Some officials in the US administration want to start a war with Iran, but it would be suicide, Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday. He did not elaborate.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Iran announced it would no longer sell excess uranium and heavy water as provided under the JCPOA, citing last week's decision by the U.S. to end sanction waivers on these transactions. Such reactors produce plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons.

"This will mean that they are committing suicide", Mohammad Javad Zarif told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti prior to his visit to Moscow. After that point, he said Iran will stop abiding by key parts of the existing deal and begin enriching uranium at significantly higher levels. World powers have "a narrowing window to reverse this".

Another chief critic, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responded to Iran's announcement by vowing his government would not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Speaking on the occasion of the memorial day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, Netanyahu said Israel will continue to fight its enemies and "will imbed our roots even deeper into our homeland".

"The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy", he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with UK' foreign secretary said Iran is blackmailing Europe by its recent move concerning JCPOA.

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China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday the 2015 nuclear agreement should be fully implemented and all sides have a responsibility to ensure it happens.

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 risky situation than the one we're in now". Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

"We will not allow Iran to achieve nuclear weaponry".

But on a practical level, Robert Kelley, a former United Nations nuclear inspector now with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said the commitments Iran was dropping had no bearing on its ability to develop an atomic bomb.

The Trump administration, which abruptly announced in December that it was pulling out of Syria, still maintains 2,000 US troops in the northern part of the war-torn country.

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