Iran has said that it now intends to totally withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal it has maintained with other world powers in the wake of the U.S. strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal – originally brokered by President Obama – last May, renewing tensions between the two countries that reached new heights after Friday’s air strike.
Iran’s state television reported Sunday that it will no longer abide by the limits of the deal, which restricted nuclear development in exchange for the easing of crippling economic sanctions.
The agreement had placed limits on Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, on the amount of stockpiled enriched uranium it could maintain, and on research and development in its nuclear ambitions.
America’s European allies have attempted to salvage the deal despite Trump’s decision to withdraw and re-impose sanctions, but Iran has gradually reduced its commitments and now says it intends to tear up the deal entirely.
The announcement, which represents the clearest nuclear proliferation threat yet made by Tehran since President Trump withdrew from the accord, came after another Iranian official said it would consider taking even-harsher steps over the killing of Soleimani.
If Iran does indeed walk away from the deal entirely, such an action also threatens to inflame regional tensions further, as Iran’s longtime foe Israel, has promised never to allow Iran to be able to produce an atomic bomb.
Iran’s state TV cited a statement by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration saying the country will not observe limitations imposed on it by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has promised “harsh revenge” for the U.S. attack that killed Soleimani.
Soleimani was the architect of Iran’s regional policy of mobilizing militias across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He also was blamed for attacks on U.S. troops and American allies going back decades.
Although it’s unclear how or when Iran may respond to Soleimani’s death, any retaliation was likely to come after three days of mourning declared in both Iran and Iraq.