- Iran is withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that could be perceived as the country taking a big step toward obtaining a nuclear weapon.
- This announcement comes after President Donald Trump ordered a strike that killed Iran’s top military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
- Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018, and this moment is widely viewed as the catalyst for a series of escalatory events that have raised fears of a potential war.
- Iran has vowed to enact “severe revenge” over Soleimani’s death, who was killed in Baghdad on January 3.
- Meanwhile, Trump has warned Iran that dozens of sites could be hit by the US if it strikes “Americans” or “American assets.”
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Iran on Sunday announced it’s withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, just days after President Donald Trump ordered a strike that killed its top military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Iranian state TV said Iran will no longer comply with any of the limits of the deal, The Associated Press reported, which effectively means it will no longer adhere to limitations on uranium enrichment, its amount of stockpiled uranium, and research and development.
This move could be perceived as the country taking a big step toward obtaining a nuclear weapon.
But Iran also said it will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, and would return to the nuclear agreement if sanctions against it were lifted, according to the New York Times.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will end its final limitations in the nuclear deal, meaning the limitation in the number of centrifuges,” the Iranian government said in a statement, per the Times. “Therefore Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production including enrichment capacity and percentage and number of enriched uranium and research and expansion.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on this development.
The deal, which was orchestrated by the Obama administration, had been crumbling ever since Trump withdrew the US from it in May 2018. Trump’s decision to pull the US from the nuclear deal is widely viewed as the catalyst for a series of escalatory events that have raised fears of a potential war.
Iran remained in compliance with the landmark pact for roughly a year after Trump pulled the US from it, but began to take steps away from the agreement as tensions rose with the US over the course of 2019.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has engaged in a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, hitting it with harsh economic sanctions aimed at crippling the Iranian economy to squeeze Tehran into agreeing to a more stringent version of the 2015 deal. But this approach has shown few signs of success.
The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. France, the UK, China, and Russia, Germany, and the European Union were also signatories to the deal.
Iran has vowed to retaliate over Soleimani’s death, who was killed in Baghdad on January 3. The strike that killed the Iranian general was conducted under Trump’s direct orders.
Trump on Friday said the strike was meant to “stop a war,” but on Saturday issued new threats to Iran via Twitter after spies detected missiles in heightened states of readiness, according to The New York Times.
The president said: “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
Trump’s threat to target “Iranian culture” sites could amount to a war crime if carried out.
- Read more:
- Iran’s ‘forceful revenge’ against the US is likely to include cyberwarfare, and experts warn that the attacks could be devastating
- Trump has no clear strategy if Iran makes good on its vow to avenge the killing of a top general, experts say
- This map shows where US-Iran tensions have flared in Iraq, which culminated in the strike killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani
- How the Trump administration got into a showdown with Iran that could lead to war