Iran nuclear deal likely doomed as tensions with US mount

Iran nuclear deal likely doomed as tensions with US mount
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Reuters

Dubai: Iran has announced that it would abandon "final limitations" in the 2015 nuclear deal in the wake of the US assassination of its top military commander Qassem Soleimani. The Islamic Republic also stated that there would be no more negotiations on the nuclear deal.

The decision to make a bid for the full dissolution of the deal, reached with six major powers, came after an emergency meeting by Iran's security council on Sunday. Iran has, however, maintained that it would cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.

General Qassem Soleimani, regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had been largely responsible for the Islamic Republic's growing military influence across the Middle East.

It is not the first time that Iran had breached the deal's restrictions. After the United State's withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and Washington's reimposition of sanctions that crippled Iran's oil trade, Iran had steadily overstepped the deal's limits on its nuclear activities.

Iran had criticised European powers for failing to salvage the pact by shielding its economy from US Sanctions. Under the nuclear deal, Tehran had agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions.

A European diplomat, who declined to be named, said the "deal is all but dead," but said that Europe would do everything possible to slow proliferation and "try and save what can be saved."

Tehran's step away from the nuclear deal is but one of the many measures that were taken in the aftermath of the killing.

'Maximum pressure'

Washington says the "maximum pressure" campaign it had started against Iran's reneging on the nuclear agreement in future will force the latter to negotiate a more sweeping deal, covering its ballistic missile program and its role in Middle Eastern conflicts.

US President Donald Trump has already vowed "major retaliation" if Iran tries to avenge the killing of Soleimani and doubled down on a threat to bomb Iranian cultural sites.

"If they do anything there will be major retaliation," Trump told reporters.

Trump had already threatened widespread bombing of Iran if Tehran carries out its own threats to attack US troops and interests in the region.

According to recent reports, Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has also signed a bill that would expel US troops from within their borders. Iraq has also announced that it is ending its fight against the Islamic State.

(With inputs from agencies)

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