Iran’s parliament approved a bill Tuesday that would suspend United Nations inspections of its nuclear facilities and boost its uranium enrichment program if international sanctions on the nation’s oil and gas sector are not lifted.
The final vote tally was not immediately released, but 251 lawmakers in the 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly voted in favor of discussing the bill earlier Tuesday, according to the state-backed Islamic Republic News Agency. Lawmakers could be seen chanting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” after the vote.
The bill — referred to as the “Strategic Plan to Lift Sanctions” by Iran’s parliament — would boost the nation’s nuclear program unless the U.S. and European nations eased sanctions and restored access to international markets within three weeks, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and has since imposed a number of economic and diplomatic sanctions on the Islamic Republic. President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants to rejoin the agreement, but Iran’s unwillingness to comply with the deal could create complications, according to CNBC.
Lawmakers initially proposed the bill in August but have since increased their demands after top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated last week, Bloomberg reported. (RELATED: Former CIA Director John O. Brennan Says Murder Of Iranian Nuclear Scientist Was ‘A Criminal Act’)
“This puts an end to this one-way street,” said Parliament Speaker Mohmmad Baqer Ghalibaf. “Western countries can rest assured that as long as they don’t live up to their obligations, we will push ahead with this decision.”
The bill would also commission new centrifuges and boost uranium enrichment capabilities from 4.5% to 20%, well below the 90% enrichment threshold required for nuclear weapons but greater than that required for civilian applications, according to the AP.
But implementing the strategic plan would require approval from the Guardian Council, a supervisory agency that is headed by President Hassan Rouhani and answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The more moderate Rouhani has indicated a desire to continue diplomacy even as hardline lawmakers in parliament demand stronger measures, Bloomberg reported.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also criticized the legislation Tuesday and said the vote was “neither necessary nor helpful.”