Iran Leader Threatens Increase to Uranium Enrichment After US Withdraws From Nuclear Deal

Iran’s president warned that his country could start enriching uranium faster if negotiations with the countries remaining in the nuclear deal aren’t productive.

Responding to President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to withdraw from the deal, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said that there’s only a “short time” to negotiate with other countries as the U.S. ratchets up pressure on its allies to join it in rejecting the accord, reports The Associated Press.

Speaking on Iranian state television, Rouhani said that he’ll be sending Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the countries still in the deal to negotiate ways to keep it afloat.

He went on the threaten that “in the next weeks” Iran would restart uranium enrichment, a key process for manufacturing nuclear fuel.

“I have ordered Iran’s atomic organization that whenever it is needed, we will start enriching uranium more than before,” Rouhani declared.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) is designed to place restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions. But with Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Obama-era deal, many European countries will be facing pressure to follow suit.

While French, German, and British leaders have come together in support of the deal, Trump’s decision is the culmination of repeated promises he’s made on the campaign trail and in office. Trump has often criticized the accord for not being tough enough in the limits placed on Iran’s nuclear program.

Meanwhile, the European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, called upon the other countries involved in the deal, including Russia and China, to respect its terms rather than joining the U.S. president’s stance.

“The nuclear deal with Iran is crucial for the security of the region, of Europe and of the entire world,” Mogherini said while calling on Iran to “not let anyone dismantle this agreement.”

U.S. lawmakers remain divided on the issue as the international community grapples with how to respond to the sudden shift in U.S. diplomacy toward Iran.

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