On July 14, 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Deal, was signed by Iran and the P5+1 - China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany. On Oct. 18, 2015, the JCPOA was adopted, and on Jan. 16, 2016 the JCPOA was implemented. The terms of the deal stated that Iran would significantly reduce its capability to produce a nuclear weapon by reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, placing limits on the enrichment of its uranium to only allow for civilian nuclear power, placing many of its centrifuges (a device designed to enrich Uranium-235) in storage, halting many of its nuclear research and development facilities, and allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with all of its terms. In return, the United States and the EU would lift its economic sanctions on Iran, which would allow Iran to resume selling oil and petroleum in the global market. However, on May 8, 2018, the United States under the Trump Administration announced that it would back out of the Iran Deal.
The United States under the Trump Administration withdrew from the Iran Deal because it believed that the JCPOA was ineffective in preventing Iran from creating a nuclear weapon due to Iran not allowing full access for international inspectors and instead only allowing inspectors from countries which have diplomatic relations with Iran. It also believes that the JCPOA does not properly address Iran’s ballistic missile programs, the future of Iran’s nuclear programs after the JCPOA has expired, or Iran’s support of the Syrian government and suspected support of the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Trump Administration plans to re impose pre-deal economic sanctions on Iran, which would restrict access to American markets on countries that trade with Iran.
The European Union seeks to salvage the JCPOA with Iran without US involvement. The EU as well as the IAEA believe that Iran has been complying with the Iran deal, and stated that it would continue to lift economic sanctions if Iran continues to honor its commitments. However, this may be complicated by the economic sanctions the United States could impose on European businesses and firms that continue to trade with Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that as long as the EU continues to honor its part of the Iran Deal, Iran will not renew its pre-deal nuclear research and development. However, if the EU were to terminate the Iran Deal along with the United States, Iran would resume its nuclear research and development with more potency than before the deal. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed much discontent at the United State’s decision.