“But of course for a stable, sustainable situation there will have to be a political negotiation that is not up to me,” he added.
Why has Iran acted now?
In the short term, it wants to put further pressure on the US and other parties to the 2015 deal – France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China – to get Washington to lift sanctions on Iran’s oil, banking and financial sectors.
The Iranian law was passed after Joe Biden had won the US presidential elections but before he took office, with Iran holding some hope that the new leader would be more willing to engage than his hardline predecessor.
However, the Biden administration has made clear that it expects Iran to return to full compliance with the 2015 deal before the US will re-join the accord and end sanctions. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who has the final say in his country on such matters, has said it is up to the US to take the first step.
Iran has increasingly stopped complying with its obligations under the 2015 deal since the US withdrew, deepening concern among the remaining members that its resumption of banned activities could ease the path towards a bomb.
Last month, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Iran could be “weeks away” from having enough material to go into a nuclear weapon – though more recent Israeli assessments suggest it would take Iran about two years to develop a deliverable device.