US President Donald Trump said Iran was “playing with fire” on Monday after its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif revealed the Islamic Republic is surpassing limits of production of enriched uranium restricted by the nuclear deal, with Zarif responding that they “have not violated the JCPOA.”
“No, no message to Iran. They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with and I think they’re playing with fire. So no message to Iran whatsoever,” Trump told reporters in the White House on Monday.
With Vice President Mike Pence at his side, Trump wouldn’t elaborate further; however, the White House later released a statement indicating the administration will continue its campaign targeting perceived malign Iranian actors.
“Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action. The regime must end its nuclear ambitions and its malign behavior,” the White House stated.
It reiterated that the 2015 nuclear deal was a “mistake” because it allowed Iran “to enrich uranium at any level … There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”
While it was Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday who confirmed reports in Tehran that they had crossed the 300-kilogram threshold of enriched 3.67-percent uranium, the Islamic Republic has not offered any proof.
Zarif took issue with the White House statement, simply tweeting: “Seriously?” in response to Iran being in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal prior to its existence.
However the world’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), acknowledged that Iran has exceeded the 300 kilogram limit.