- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will deliver a major speech Wednesday and is expected to lay out “counteractions” against the U.S. — including the “resumption of some nuclear activities” as a direct response to President Trump’s decision last year to exit the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The announcement from Tehran comes just hours after the White House said it would send a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East to counter new “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” coming from Iran.

While the administration was vague on exactly what those threats are, Mr. Rouhani’s apparent decision to restart some nuclear activities may have played a role in the decision. The Wednesday speech will come on the one-year anniversary of Mr. Trump’s controversial move to leave the multilateral Iranian nuclear deal, which offered Tehran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for halting much of its nuclear weapons program.

The Iranian Students’ News Agency said Monday that Mr. Rouhani may announce the first wave in a set of “phasic counteractions” against the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.

“Partial and total reduction of some of Iran’s commitments and resumption of some nuclear activities which were ceased following [the U.S. exit of the nuclear deal] are the first step by Iran responding to US’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the lack commitment from European countries to meet their vows,” the news agency said.

European “officials, who have just made unfulfilled vows during last year have been unofficially informed of the decision,” the report continued.

The news comes amid reports that senior European officials have warned that Iran is poised to stop abiding by parts of the agreement, which was implemented in 2015 after grueling diplomatic negotiations during the Obama administration.

Iranian media reported that Tehran, however, is not considering leaving the nuclear agreement entirely.

Meanwhile, the White House late Sunday night said it would send the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region.

In a statement, White House National Security Adviser John R. Bolton said the U.S. “is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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