Iran announces partial withdrawal from nuclear deal

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Iran announced on Wednesday it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear program under a 2015 deal with world powers, and threatened to do more - including enriching uranium to a higher level - if countries did not shield it from USA sanctions.

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, May 8, 2019.

Netanyahu's comments came after Wednesday announcement by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that Iran would stop complying with two of its commitments under the Iranian nuclear deal. All were signatories to the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Mr Rouhani said Tehran will give 60 days for signatories to return to negotiating financial and oil deals.

Despite the havoc on the Iranian economy, United Nations officials have certified Tehran's compliance with the nuclear deal.

"In line with protecting the security and national interests of the Iranian people", the Supreme National Security Council has ordered stop to implementation of some parts of commitments of the Islamic Republic of Iran under the JCPOA according to articles 26 and 36 of the agreement.

In a speech broadcast on national television, Rouhani said the remaining signatories - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - had 60 days to make good on their promises to protect Iran's oil and banking sectors.

Here's where Iran's nuclear program and the unravelling accord now stand. After the USA withdrew from the accord, the Trump administration restored crippling sanctions against Iran, exacerbating a severe economic crisis.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear arms Wednesday, hours after Iran declared it would step up enrichment activity as the 2015 nuclear deal appeared close to crumbling.

China said the agreement should be implemented and called on all sides to avoid an escalation of tensions. The Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to be a joint U.S.

Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Washington has given waivers to some countries, mainly in Asia, to keep buying Iranian oil for a limited time. It says it aims to reduce Iranian crude exports to zero. The Trump administration also said it will end a waiver program that allowed some nations to circumvent US sanctions and continue buying Iranian oil without suffering penalties.

The U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran when Trump tore up the deal.

France was the first European Union country to react, warning that Europe will have no choice but to impose economic sanctions against Iran if it steps back from the deal.

The Trump administration has repeatedly warned European multinationals they will face swingeing US Treasury fines if they trade with Iran and try to operate in the US market.

Washington's European allies say Trump's repudiation of the deal hurts the pragmatic wing of Iran's leadership and plays into the hands of hardliners.