- Recently, Iran has announced that it will partially withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under which it agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
- The announcement comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
- In 2015, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran and the P5 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), plus Germany and the EU, which aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme.
- Measures by Iran under the deal:
- Most of Iran’s enriched uranium was shipped out of the country
- A heavy water facility was rendered inoperable
- Operational nuclear facilities were brought under international inspection
- In return, the deal involved lifting of international sanctions on Iran.
US pulling out of the deal:
- In May 2018, the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, citing the following reasons:
- The deal did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
- It does not focus on Iran’s nuclear activities beyond 2025.
- It also leaves out Iran’s role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
- The ‘one-sided deal’ did not bring calm and peace to the region.
- In June 2018, Iran notified IAEA of its nuclear enrichment plans.
- Later, in November 2018, US extended sanctions, effectively requiring countries around the world to stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
- The US also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as “terrorists”.
- Recently, the US has announced deployment of a naval strike group to the Middle East because of indications of a “credible threat from Iranian regime forces”.
Impact on Iran of US sanctions:
- Rising Inflation
- Fall in Currency value
- Costly imports
- Sharp decline in oil export
- In reaction to the US moves, Iran has now decided to reduce its commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015.
- Iran has blamed the need for this decision on the failure of the JCPOA deal’s remaining partners to save it.
- In response, France have suggested that European countries will also reimpose sanctions on Iran if it reneges on commitments under its nuclear deal.
- The reimposed US sanctions are aimed at discouraging Iran’s policies that go well beyond the nuclear remit, such as its ballistic missile programme, its military presence in Syria and its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- However, Iran is unlikely to meet US’ demands, as it considers these policies as fundamental.
- Thus, the US-Iranian stand-off could last for a while.