Trump to Iran: Nuclear threats will 'come back to bite you'

US president's warning comes after Tehran vowed to exceed uranium enrichment level agreed in the 2015 nuclear deal.

    Trump to Iran: Nuclear threats will 'come back to bite you'
    Iranian leader threatened to restart its "dangerous" heavy water reactor in three days unless partners in the nuclear deal protected its trade [Iranian Presidency Office via AP]

    US President Donald Trump warned Iran on Wednesday its threats could "come back to bite" after Tehran vowed to exceed the maximum uranium enrichment level allowed by a landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

    "Iran has just issued a New Warning. Rouhani says that they will Enrich Uranium to 'any amount we want' if there is no new Nuclear Deal," Trump tweeted, referring to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

    "Be careful with the threats, Iran. They can come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before!"

    Iran is acting on its May 8 threat to suspend parts of the agreement in response to Trump's reimposition of crippling sanctions after withdrawing from it in May last year.

    Rouhani said Wednesday's decision to exceed the enrichment limit was in response to failure by other parties to the deal to keep up their promises and provide Iran relief from sanctions by the United States.

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    The Iranian leader said as required by the 2015 accord Tehran removed the core of the reactor and filled it with cement in January 2016.

    "[But] from July 7 onward with the Arak reactor, if you don't operate [according to] the programme and timeframe of all the commitments you've given us, we will return the Arak reactor to its previous condition," Rouhani warned signatories on Wednesday.

    'Door open to negotiations'

    "Meaning the condition that you say is dangerous and can produce plutonium," he said, referring to a key component of a nuclear weapon.

    "We will return to that unless you take action regarding all your commitments regarding Arak."

    Rouhani kept the door open to negotiations, however, saying Iran would again reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium below the 300kg limit set by the nuclear pact if signatories Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China honoured their pledges.

    The enrichment maximum set in the agreement is sufficient for power generation but far below the more than 90 percent level required for a nuclear weapon.

    Tensions have soared between Washington and Tehran since Trump pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran in a bid to reduce its international sales of oil to zero.

    Fears of a military conflict breaking out remain high. The US has rushed an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and F-22 fighters to the Gulf region, while Trump said the Iranians were "playing with fire".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies