US President Donald Trump on Monday said Iran is “playing with fire” after Tehran said it exceeded a limit on enriched uranium reserves under a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Washington. The United States withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and reimpose biting sanctions on Iran's crucial oil exports and financial transactions as well as other sectors. Tehran, which has sought to pressure the remaining parties to save the deal, on May 8 announced it would no longer respect the limit set on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles.
Israel urged European states to sanction Iran, while Russia voiced regret but said the move was a consequence of US pressure, which has pushed the deal towards collapse.
Britain called on Tehran “to avoid any further steps away” from the landmark deal, and the UN said Iran must stick to its commitments under the accord.
“Iran has crossed the 300-kilogram limit based on its plan” announced in May, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told semi-official news agency ISNA.
But he also said the move could be reversed.
“They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with and I think they’re playing with fire,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if he had a message for Iran.
Earlier, Trump signed an executive order which he said will impose “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran and deny the Iranian Supreme Leader and other officials access to financial instruments within the US jurisdiction.
“Sadly, the thing they do understand is strength and power, and the USA is by far the most powerful military force in the world, with 1.5 trillion dollars invested over the last two years alone,” he tweeted.
Trump said that the “wonderful Iranian people” are suffering, and for no reason at all.
“Their leadership spends all of its money on terror, and little on anything else. The US has not forgotten Iran’s use of IED’s & EFP’s (bombs), which killed 2,000 Americans, and wounded many more,” he said.
Iran’s UN ambassador said that conditions were not ripe for a dialogue with the United States. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told reporters that the United States must stop “its economic war against the Iranian people.”
“You cannot start a dialogue with somebody who is threatening you, who is intimidating you,” said Ravanchi. “The atmosphere of such a dialogue is not ready yet.” The ambassador spoke a few hours after the United States announced a raft of new sanctions that target Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and eight Iranian commanders.