Iran's move comes amid a flare-up of tensions with the United States in recent days, after the Trump administration said it had indications that Iran was preparing to retaliate against USA interests in the region, including possibly against US troops in Iraq.
"Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct", US President Donald Trump said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Wednesday his country will suspend its compliance with prohibitions on stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water that were imposed as part of the 2015 worldwide agreement on its nuclear program.
Mr. Rouhani added that if the deadline passes with no new agreement, Iran will stop an ongoing effort to redesign its Arak heavy water nuclear reactor.
Iran has denied ever seeking nuclear weapons, insisting its atomic program is for entirely peaceful purposes.
Iran announced on Wednesday that it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear programme, announcing steps that stop short of violating its 2015 deal with world powers for now, but threatening more action if countries did not shield it from United States sanctions.
Iran's threat to withdraw from the deal comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries. But it threatened more action if it was not shielded from USA sanctions.
Emphasising that "Iran will not withdraw" from the deal, Zarif said "this right has been set for Iran in the JCPOA; we are not operating outside of the JCPOA but are in fact working in its framework".
Mark Dubowitz, CEO of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, stated, "The regime in Iran remains committed to nuclear weapons capability".More news: Derby victor Country House out of Preakness due to illness
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The existing deal allows Iran to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent, which is enough to fuel nuclear power plants used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
In response to these developments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would "not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons". "We will continue to fight those who would kill us".
She adds that Iran's latest actions don't necessarily indicate a flagrant violation of its terms of the nuclear agreement - for example, Tehran hasn't yet increased research and development on advanced nuclear reactors or denied access to worldwide weapons inspectors. The two men have expanded their country's bilateral relations and have also grown closer to Iran, who they support in the face of what they considered to be US aggression. "We call on relevant sides to exercise restraint and step up dialogue to prevent a spiral of escalating tensions".
Rouhani's announcement came just days after US national security adviser John Bolton used the routine deployment of an American aircraft carrier and bomber task force to threaten Iran with "unrelenting force"-a move critics denounced as a risky step in the direction of all-out war".
French Defence Minister Florence Parly echoed the German foreign minister's words, saying that the European Union "absolutely [wants] to keep this agreement alive" in an interview with BFMTV, further adding that "nothing would be worse than Iran leaving this deal".
Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement was the result of nearly two years of tense negotiations between world powers and was formulated to curb Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons. "They would like Europe to see these latest actions by Iran as evidence of non-compliance [with the deal]".