Parliament passed a law in November that obliges the government to halt inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency and to step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal if sanctions are not eased, according to Reuters.
Iran’s Guardian Council watchdog body approved the law on Dec. 2 and the government has said it implementing it.
“According to the law, if the Americans do not lift financial, banking and oil sanctions by Feb. 21, we will definitely expel the IAEA inspectors from the country and will definitely end the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol,” said parliamentarian Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani.
On Monday, Iran's government spokesman said the country has started the process to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity at its Fordo nuclear facility.
Ali Rabiei said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the implementation of a new law, dubbed the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which has been already approved by the Parliament, Press TV reported.
"President [Hassan Rouhani] had ordered the beginning of 20-percent enrichment a couple of days ago, and the process of injecting gas [into centrifuges] has started after informing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Rabiei said.
US President Donald Trump, a hawkish critic of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.
Following its much-criticized exit, Washington has been attempting to prevent the remaining signatories from abiding by their commitments and thus kill the historic agreement, which is widely viewed as a fruit of international diplomacy.
Washington reinstated the sanctions that it had lifted once it became a JCPOA member, and also started to force other countries into committing to the bans and stopping their trade with Tehran.
In response to the US unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments five times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.