Iran has officially stopped some commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers following an order from its national security council, an informed official in the country’s atomic energy body told the ISNA news agency yesterday.
Last week, Iran notified China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom of its decision to halt some commitments under the nuclear deal, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and re-imposed sanctions.
Under the nuclear deal, Tehran was allowed to produce low-enriched uranium with a 300-kg limit, and produce heavy water with a stock capped around 130 tonnes. Tehran could ship the excess amounts out of the country for storage or sale.
The official said Iran has no limit from now for production of enriched uranium and heavy water.
Iran’s initial moves do not appear to violate the nuclear deal yet. But Iran has warned that unless the world powers protect Iran’s economy from U.S. sanctions within 60 days, Iran would start enriching uranium at higher level.
In another development, the United States yesterday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.
Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.
At the root of these development appears to be President Donald Trump’s decision a year ago to pull the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran’s supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn’t be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.
The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House to remove some of its staff remains unclear.