U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, which he described as “defective at its core.”
"I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal," Trump said on May 8.
"In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime,” Trump said.
Trump said Washington “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions," he said.
Trump is operating under a May 12 deadline for deciding whether to reimpose U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The deal, worked out by the United States, five other international powers and Iran, eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran restricting its nuclear program.
In Tehran, President Hassan Rohani swiftly responded to Trump’s announcement, saying Tehran is ready to resume its nuclear work after holding talks with European Union signatories of the deal.
"If negotiations fail, the Islamic Republic will enrich uranium more than before...in the next weeks," Rohani said a televised speech.
"I have ordered Iran's atomic organization that whenever it is needed, we will start enriching uranium more than before," he said.
Earlier on May 8, Rohani acknowledged Iran could "face some problems" if Trump announced that he will reimpose sanctions on the country.
Rohani said "It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this."
Rohani said on May 7 that Iran would remain in the nuclear accord even if the United States withdraws, on the condition that the other parties -- France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany -- stick with the agreement.
Britain, France, and Germany made last-ditch efforts to try to persuade Trump to keep honoring the deal.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on May 8 that France, Germany, and Britain regretted Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
"France, Germany, and the U.K. regret the U.S. decision to leave the JCPOA (Iran deal). The nuclear nonproliferation regime is at stake," he wrote on Twitter.
"We will work collectively on a broader framework, covering nuclear activity, the post-2025 period, ballistic activity, and stability in the Middle East, notably Syria, Yemen, and Iraq," he added.
Macron's office says the French president spoke in the evening on May 8 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May about the Iran accord and next steps after Trump's decision.
European Union foreign police chief Federica Mogherini said the EU “is determined to preserve” the deal, which she described as “one of the biggest achievements diplomacy has ever delivered.”
“We expect the rest of the international community to continue to do its part, to guarantee that it continues to be fully implemented for the sake of our own collective security,” Mogherini said on May 8.
Ahead of Trump’s announcement, Russia warned that a “very serious situation” will emerge if Trump pulls the United States out of the accord.
Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and its compliance with the deal has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.