Iran had threatened to begin enriching stores of uranium, which goes against their commitment to the Obama-era nuclear deal and gives Iran the potential to develop nuclear weapons. The United States is now on high alter after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani outlined the terms of a partial withdrawal from the agreement this week. The President threatened to begin enriching his stores of uranium if the remaining countries in the deal refuse to help Iran find relief for its sanctioned oil and banking sectors.
In 2015, Iran along with China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council), Germany, and the European Union signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of enriched uranium and reduce the number of its gas centrifuges by about two-thirds the number of for 13 years. In the 15 years to follow that, Iran agreed to only enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent and limit this to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. They also agreed to not build any new heavy-water facilities for 15 years. The reasoning behind this timeframe is the belief that by 2030 the people involved in the 1979 Iranian revolution will no longer be politically active.
In return, if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report verifying the implementation of the nuclear-related measures by Iran, some or all sanctions by the United Nations (UN) and EU against Iran would be terminated or suspended, allowing Iran to recover USD $100 billion of its assets currently frozen in overseas banks.
Under American law, the Iran deal is non-binding; in May 2018, United States President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal, and in November that year effected sanctions with the intention of forcing Iran to dramatically alter its policies, such as their support for Islamic terrorist organizations and development of ballistic missiles. President Trump called the Iran deal "horrible" and said the United States would "work with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms.” All major European companies abandoned doing business afterward.
Under the sanctions, Iran is not allowed to sell excess enriched uranium and heavy water to other countries. Until last week, some countries were allowed to continue buying limited amounts of sanctioned Iranian oil. The Iranian President has now also pulled out of a planned deal to sell off excess uranium from its nuclear power sector and set a 60-day deadline for the leaders of Britain, China, France, Germany, and the EU to negotiate better terms for the 2015 Iran deal.
President Rouhani announced, “The Americans will see for themselves that over the next few months we will continue to export our oil…there are six other doors available and the Americans don’t know it. We have to export our oil by all means possible within our power and stand up against them — the Americans.”