Iran's president said Wednesday that the country will begin keeping its excess uranium and heavy water from its nuclear program, setting a 60-day deadline for new terms to its nuclear deal with world powers before it will resume higher uranium enrichment. Hassan Rouhani's address to the nation came on the anniversary of President Trump's decision to withdraw America from the atomic accord. Rouhani said Iran wanted to negotiate new terms with remaining partners in the deal, but acknowledged that the situation was dire. "This surgery is to save the (deal), not destroy it," Rouhani said, calling for European nations to defy the reinstated US sanctions on Iran. The 2015 deal saw sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.
Iran sent letters Wednesday on its decision to the leaders of Britain, China, the European Union, France, and Germany, the AP reports. All were signatories to the nuclear deal and continue to support it. A letter was also to go to Russia. "If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitments according to the nuclear deal," Rouhani said. There was no immediate response from the US. However, the White House said Sunday it would dispatch an aircraft carrier and a bomber wing to the Persian Gulf over what it described as a new threat from Iran. The US has also ended waivers for nations buying Iranian crude oil. (Read more Iran nuclear deal stories.)