A year after US President Donald Trump announced his country’s pullout from the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran says it is no longer committed to parts of the agreement, signed with world powers.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday his country would resume high level enrichment of uranium if promises under the deal are not kept.
Rouhani said the remaining signatories – the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – had 60 days to implement their promises to protect Iran’s oil and banking sectors from US sanctions.
Here is what we know:
Iran changed its Arak heavy-water reactor to so that it was no longer producing or reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium. Instead, the facility would “host peaceful medical and industrial nuclear research”.
Iran agreed to halt uranium enrichment at its Fordow site and convert it into an isotopic research centre. It also agreed to allow inspections of key nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure compliance.
There was still controversy around parts of the agreement. The restrictions on Iran’s centrifuges would be lifted after the eighth year, and 15 years onwards, restrictions on its uranium enrichment and stockpile size would expire. Some critics believe it would be possible for Iran to go back on the nuclear path around the mid-2020s.
Iran also negotiated the eventual lifting of an embargo on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles, which also sparked criticism.
President Trump said Iran was violating the spirit of the deal, arguing that Iran was not an ally and that it was working against US interests in the Middle East.
The US president also doesn’t want the restrictions set out in the deal – such as the one on uranium enrichment and the use of centrifuges – to have end dates.
“I have outlined two possible paths forward; either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw,” Trump said in January. He proposed new restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme, more intrusive inspections of its nuclear programme and removing time limits on uranium enrichment and centrifuge restrictions.
In a 10-page guidance document, the departments of treasury and state explained that sanctions enforcement would be completed over two “wind-down” periods.
The first wind-down period will end on August 6, 2018, and the sanctions reinstated by that date would encompass the purchase of or subscription to Iran’s sovereign debt and activities that include Iran’s purchase of commercial aircraft and services, export of carpets and food to the US, trade in gold and precious metals.
The second wind-down period ends on November 4, 2018, and it will bring sanctions on industries such as shipping, oil, petrochemicals, and the energy sector. The US will again pursue efforts to reduce Iran’s sale of crude oil.
The US is the only country to have withdrawn from the agreement, Iran, China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany are still parties, and their continued compliance may mean that US sanctions would not have the desired effect.
Since then, Iran has increased its production to 3.81 million bpd in March 2018, almost four percent of global output. Its crude exports averaged over two million bpd in January-March.
When President Trump abandoned the deal, oil prices rose more than three percent on Wednesday, according to Reuters.