BY : SHRUTI SHARMA
The Joint Comprehensive Action Plan, also known as, the Iran Nuclear Deal came into existence after the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 together with the European Union. The P5+1 included the five permanent members of the UN Security Council- China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States, plus Germany. It was finalised on the July 14th, 2015. Initially, in 2013 a Joint Plan of Action was made between them which gave rise to the formal agreements for the Iran Nuclear Deal.
The deal was made to limit the enrichment of uranium in Iran to 3.67% for the next 15 years. Using only the first generation centrifuges, the uranium enrichment activities were limited to only one facility for a period of 10 years. The access was granted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the nuclear facility in Iran, to ensure the compliance of the agreement. In return of abiding by all the commitments made under the deal by Iran, relief was to be granted from the nuclear-related sanctions by the US, European Union and UN Security Council.
In October 2017, US President announced the refusal of certification provided in the deal but did not terminate the same. But in March 2018, it was confirmed by the IAEA that Iran had been implementing its nuclear related commitments that were mentioned in the agreement. But the deal also required for the disclosure of the covert nuclear weapons program, which Iran failed to do so. This was argued by US along with Israel. In May of 2018, US withdrew itself from the Nuclear Deal with Iran.
Upon the withdrawal, a blocking statute was updated by the European Union that nullified the sanctions imposed by the US on the countries trading with Iran, with effect from August of 2018. On the November 2018, the US sanctions came back to effect, forcing Iran to alter its policies for development of ballistic missiles. However, in May 2019 the certification was provided by the IAEA that Iran had abided with the terms of the Nuclear Deal.
But questions were raised regarding the provision of the quantity of the centrifuges for Iran since it was unclear in the deal.In the 1970 too, Iran had ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because they had planned to expand the nuclear power. After the Islamic Revolution, the plans for expansion were put to a hold, which lead to the establishment of the undeclared AMAD Project of Nuclear Weapon Development.
During the first week of July 2019, the IAEA confirmed there was a breach of the limit set for the stock-pile of the low enriched uranium by Iran. The same was confirmed by Iran. They however agreed to cooperate with the UN Security Council for the Nuclear Deal. But the ties of Iran-US had already worsened when US unilaterally withdrew from the Nuclear Deal and imposed the sanctions to cripple Iran from using the ballistic missiles and also hampered its trade with other nations. Iran had already announced for the expansion of its enrichment infrastructure back in June of 2018. But those expansions were promised to be kept within the limit of the Nuclear Deal.
On 3rd January 2020, QasemSoleimani was assassinated by US Forces. The drone strike was conducted near the Baghdad International Airport which claimed the life of Iranian Major General of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, which had been alleged to be supporting the non-state characters in various countries such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Shia militia in Afghanistan. They have been recognised as a terrorist group by US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and also Canada.
US had also alleged that the K-1 Air Base of American personnel were attacked by Iranian forces in December 2019. On retaliation of that attack, US held air strikes which killed 25 of the Iran based Militiamen based in Iraq and Syria. A few days later, the US Embassy in the Green Zone was attacked by the Iranian Militiamen and their supporters. In response to the attack, the United Nations Department of Defence stated that as preventive measure against the future threats, the air strike was launched near Baghdad International Airport. This also led to a non-binding resolution passed in the parliament of Iraq to expel all the foreign troops from the nation.
Soleimani’s killing quickly accelerated the tension between Iran-US posing a fear of military conflict between the two. This was because the enraged Iranian leaders vowed to take revenge. But the US stands firm on their statement that they would conduct any pre-emptive attack against Iran backed military or Para-military groups. In retaliation of the airstrike, Iran conducted a series of missile attacks on the US troops in Iraq but zero casualties were recorded.
On the 5th January 2020 following the aftermath of the airstrike that killed General Soleimani, Iran declared that it would no longer comply with the limitations of the Nuclear Deal but would cooperate with IAEA for the future possibility of resuming its compliance for the same.