A spokesman for Iran's atomic energy agency reportedly said Tehran will not extend a deadline it has given European countries to save the Obama-era nuclear deal.
Behrouz Kamalvandi told an Iranian news agency that European countries including Germany and France have until July 8 to take concrete steps to shield Iran's economy from U.S. sanctions that were reimposed when President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE pulled out of the agreement, according to Reuters.
If steps are not taken, Kamalvandi said, Iran will begin enriching uranium at a higher level prohibited by the 2015 nuclear agreement, the news service added.
“Iran’s two-month deadline to remaining signatories of the [nuclear agreement] cannot be extended, and the second phase will be implemented exactly as planned,” he told the Tasnim news agency, Reuters noted.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani reportedly echoed that threat during a Cabinet meeting broadcast on state television, telling his advisers that Iran would cancel its plans to begin enriching uranium at a higher rate if European nations that remain in the 2015 agreement are able to meet its demands.
“If our demands are not met, we will take new measures after 60 days, calculated from May 8,” Rouhani said, according to Reuters.
“But if they return to their commitments, we will cancel all measures taken in the first 60 days or possibly the second 60 days, and there won’t be any problem," he added.
Their statements come just two days after the U.S. announced a further deployment of 1,000 troops to the Middle East amid heightened tensions with Iran, a move that the Trump administration maintained was necessary to protect U.S. interests but which critics warned would only provoke Iranian-backed forces in the region.
U.S. officials have blamed Iran for the destruction of two oil tankers last week, a charge the Iranian government has strongly denied.
Trump said this week that he would go to war to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while not saying whether Iran's other alleged actions would justify military action.
“I would certainly go over nuclear weapons, and I would keep the other a question mark," he said, referring to whether protecting energy supplies would be a justification for war.