Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iran says will 'react' if US breaks existing nuclear deal again. In picture: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.IANS File Photo

Iran has said it will "react" if the United States once again breaches the terms of the nuclear treaty — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the Islamic nation and the US, along with negotiating partners Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany had worked out. The country had already warned the US over any such step after Donald Trump became its President-elect. 

The current warning involves the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). According to Reuters: "The law was first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran's energy industry and deter Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons." The US House of Representatives has now re-authorised the act, meaning that will remain in force for another 10 years, as opposed to expiring with the end of 2016 if it had been allowed to lapse. 

Iran is seeing this as a violation of the nuclear treaty, which, according to official documents, cuts off "all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon, including a covert pathway;" puts in place "vigorous, intrusive, and unprecedented transparency measures that are necessary to verify that Iran cannot pursue a weapon;" and ensures "sanctions can be snapped back into place if Iran violates the deal."

'Breached deal on many occassions'

In the aftermath of this apparent violation, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted by Reuters as saying on Wednesday: "The current US government has breached the nuclear deal on many occasions. The latest is extension of sanctions for 10 years, that if it happens, would surely be against JCPOA, and the Islamic Republic would definitely react to it."

The Reuters report noted that the decade-long increase in sanctions has not been finalised yet. It said: "The House bill must still be passed by the [US] Senate and signed by President Barack Obama to become law." The report also went on to point out: "The House of Representatives also passed a bill last week that would block the sale of commercial aircraft by Boeing and Airbus to Iran."