AS rift deepens between Iran and the United States after the latter killed Iran’s senior military commander Qassem Soleimani, Tehran on Sunday announced that it was abandoning its last obligation under the 2015 nuclear deal which is to limit the number to centrifuges. “By taking the fifth step in reducing its obligations, Iran is abandoning the last key practical limitation under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is dealing with the number of centrifuges,” the Iranian Government in a statement said.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement between Iran and P5+1 with European Union, was signed in 2015. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. Under the JCPOA, Tehran was limited to installing no more than 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient centrifuges at Natanz until 2026.
Trump rules out US troop withdrawal from Iraq, threatens ‘very big’ sanctions
The Iraqi Parliament voted to expel the US troops from its territory
By Lalit K Jha
PRESIDENT Donald Trump on Monday threatened to impose “very big” sanctions on Iraq after its Parliament called on the US military to leave the country for assassinating top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack in Baghdad. The Iraqi Parliament voted to expel the US troops from its territory which have been there to help the Iraq dispensation fight the Islamic State terror group. Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group. Iraq’s move comes in response to the killing of Major General Soleimani, 62, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, in a US drone attack on a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Soleimani’s killing was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the US, already hit by serious differences over Tehran’s ambitious nuclear programme. “We’re not leaving (Iraq) unless they pay us back for it,” Trump said while responding to a question on the resolution passed by the Iraqi Parliament.
Trump’s threat to Iraq ‘not very helpful’: Germany
US President Donald Trump’s threat to slap sanctions on Iraq should Baghdad expel US troops based there “is not very helpful”, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday. “I don’t think you can convince Iraq with threats, but with arguments,” Maas told Deutschlandfunk radio, warning that years-long efforts to rebuild Iraq “could all be lost” if the situation escalates. Trump earlier vowed to hit Iraq with sanctions “like they’ve never seen before” if US troops are forced to leave the country. The threat came after Iraqi lawmakers voted to request the Government end an agreement with a US-led international coalition to fight the hardline Islamist group IS in the region. Tensions have soared following the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike in Baghdad on Friday. A furious Tehran has since announced a further step back from its commitments to the 2015 nuclear accord, leaving the future of the hard-fought pact in doubt. European leaders have called for an urgent de-escalation of tensions.