Iran rejected on Tuesday a White House accusation that Tehran was long violating the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers, after the Islamic Republic said it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under the accord.
“Seriously?” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a message on social network Twitter, after a statement by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham that said, “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”
Tehran’s announcement drew a warning from President Donald Trump that Tehran was “playing with fire.”
The move marked Iran’s first major step beyond the terms of the pact since the United States pulled out of it more than a year ago. However, Zarif said the move was not a violation of the accord, arguing that Tehran was exercising its right to respond to the U.S. walkout.
The step, however, could have far-reaching consequences for diplomacy at a time when European countries are trying to pull the United States and Iran back from confrontation. It comes less than two weeks after Trump said he ordered air strikes on Iran, only to cancel them minutes before impact.