Tehran has said that it will no longer comply with the restrictions on its nuclear programme that it agreed to as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015.
According to a report by the semi-official Fars News Agency on 5 January, Iran will no longer abide by any restrictions on its nuclear operations. This includes enrichment capacity, levels of enrichment, and research and development.
The report follows a US drone strike in Iraq on 3 January that killed Iran’s most senior military leader General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.
Soleimani has led Iran’s military operations across the Middle East for many years and his targeted killing is a major escalation in the conflict between Washington and Tehran.
Iran has been withdrawing the commitments it made under the JCPOA since last year.
President Hassan Rouhani said in May 2019 that Iran will now keep enriched uranium stocks in the country rather than export them, and warned that the production of more-highly-enriched uranium may resume.
The Iranian withdrawal of commitments followed the US move in late 2018 to reinstate all of the sanctions removed under the JCPOA.
The sanctions target core areas of the economy including oil exports, shipping and banks.
The 2015 JCPOA removed economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme. The deal was signed by Iran with the P5+1 countries, which are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US – plus Germany.
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