Iran 'prepares to withdraw from parts of nuclear deal'
Iran will announce on Wednesday it is partially withdrawing from the nuclear deal it struck with world powers, a year to the day that US president Donald Trump pulled America from the accord, its state-run news agency reported.
The terms of the withdrawal remain unclear, though the IRNA news agency said President Hassan Rouhani will explain Iran's decision in letters to leaders of Britain, France and Germany that will be handed to ambassadors in Tehran.
Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif separately will write to the European Union, the agency said.
The semi-official ISNA news agency reported late Tuesday that Mr Zarif had left for Moscow to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin to discuss bilateral and international issues, without elaborating.
Details of the letters, all to signatories of the 2015 accord, will not be publicly disclosed, it said.
The letters will come as officials in the Islamic Republic previously warned that Iran might increase its uranium enrichment, potentially pulling away from a deal it has sought to salvage for months.
Already, the White House has announced the deployment of a US aircraft carrier and a bomber wing to the Persian Gulf over unspecified threats from Iran.
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog says Iran has continued to comply with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw it limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
But American sanctions have wreaked havoc on Iran's already-anaemic economy, while promised help from European partners in the deal have not alleviated the pain.
The US last week stopped issuing waivers for countries importing Iranian crude oil, a crucial source of cash for Iran's government.
It also halted waivers allowing Iran to store excess heavy water in Oman and to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.
Mr Trump campaigned on a promise to tear up the deal struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
While Mr Trump has sought to dismantle many of Mr Obama's policies, he particularly criticised the Iran nuclear deal for failing to address Tehran's ballistic missile programme and what he described as its malign influence across the rest of the Mideast.
Iran's hardline Javan newspaper, associated with the Revolutionary Guard, said Wednesday would "ignite the matchstick for burning the deal".
It suggested in its Tuesday edition that Iran may install advanced centrifuges at its Natanz facility and begin enrichment at its Fordo facility, activities prohibited under the nuclear deal.