Iran has suspended their commitments initially made under the 2015 international nuclear deal a year after it was abandoned by the US. They have also threatened to resume production of uranium.
The main part of the nuclear deal was for Iran to sell a majority of their enriched uranium stocks abroad, this was so that Iran could continue to generate nuclear power, but for others to know that they are not building nuclear weapons.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran was acting within its rights under the deal and it was up to the three European powers to act. He said on twitter: “After a year of patience, Iran stops measures that US has made impossible to continue”.
Iran informed the remaining parties to the deal – France, Germany, Russia, China and the UK – of its decision on Wednesday morning. In response, French Defence Minister Florence Parly told French media that the European powers were doing everything they could to keep the deal alive but there would be consequences and possibly sanctions if the deal was not adhered to.
China and Russia both blamed Washington’s withdrawal from the deal for the current situation.
President Hassan Rouhani said he was suspending two parts of the deal, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that Iran was adhering to – the sale of surplus enriched uranium and heavy water.
He then gave the European powers, Russia and China 60 days to meet their financial and oil commitments to the deal. If they did so, Iran would resume the sales.
If, however, those commitments were not met and the powers chose to follow US sanctions, he said Iran would begin higher enrichment of uranium, which is currently capped, and begin developing its Arak heavy water reactor based on plans made prior to the deal.
But the Iranian president said Iran was not pulling out of the deal.
“We do not want to leave the agreement. All the people of the world should know that today is not the end of the JCPOA; it is a new step within the framework of the JCPOA,” he said.
However, he said the five powers would face a “very decisive reaction” if Iran’s nuclear case was referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Earlier this week, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US was deploying an aircraft carrier to the Middle East following a number of “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.