Updated: March 1, 2021
The Iranian government announced on Sunday that it would start enriching uranium without any restriction.
The government said it will no longer abide by any limits on its enrichment of uranium, according to Iranian state TV.
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U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal in May 2018.
The move set off a chain of events that have seen tensions rise.
Axios noted that Iran’s latest announcement following the assassination by President Donald Trump of Iran’s most revered general “could be the final blow to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, raising the risk that Iran will move toward a nuclear weapon. However, Iran has said it will continue to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is prepared to return to compliance with the deal if the U.S. removes sanctions”.
The announcement also puts European leaders who have attempted to mediate in order to keep constraints on Iran’s nuclear program intact in a very difficult situation.
The Trump administration has said its goal was to force Iran to negotiate a more comprehensive deal. But the assassination of General Qassem Suleimani has brought both countries close to war any deal at the moment was very unlikely.
Axios noted that “Iran’s decision to not immediately raise its enrichment levels to 20% and allow the IAEA to maintain inspection access is notable. Some experts, including the European Council on Foreign Relation’s Ellie Geranmayeh, view the move as Tehran leaving open a “narrow window for diplomacy.