Iranian Parliament Passes Bill to Halt Nuclear Inspections and Increase Enriched Uranium

The Iranian parliament approved a bill Tuesday intended to halt United Nations nuclear facility inspections and increase uranium enrichment if European sanctions are not lifted.

Many of the lawmakers who supported the bill chanted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” following a vote on whether the bill should be discussed, according to the IRNA news agency.

The bill demands that European partners in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, JCPOA, better known as the Iran nuclear deal, lift oil and gas sanctions and open Iran’s access to international banking within one month.

Iranian lawmakers are “hopeful to remove sanctions through this stern decision,” said Parliament Speaker Mohmmad Baqer Ghalibaf to state TV.

The move also coincides with last week’s killing of the regime’s most valuable nuclear commander, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

If these demands are not met, the bill calls for Iran to enrich uranium to 20%, which still falls below the necessary level of 90% to produce weapons-grade material but is above the needed enriched uranium used for civilian purposes.

Currently, Iran is enriching uranium to 4.5 percent, which exceeds the agreement set forth in the 2015 JCPOA.

Iran will also install new centrifuges at two of its primary nuclear sites, Natanz and Fordo.

While the bill was moved forward by the Iranian parliament, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ultimate power over Iran’s nuclear policies and will make the decision on whether the bill is implemented.

The bill was originally introduced to the Iranian parliament in August but gained new attention in the wake of Fakhrizadeh’s death, which Iran pins on Israel and possibly the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is currently responsible for inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites, and since Fakhrizadeh’s killing, some Iranian lawmakers have expressed suspicions that these inspections provided the intelligence that made the assassination possible.

The bill’s approval comes at a time when Iran is anticipating new U.S. leadership, which will likely entail a withdrawal from President Trump’s crippling economic sanctions and “maximum pressure” strategy.

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