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Iran further scales back compliance with 2015 nuclear deal

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Iran further scales back compliance with 2015 nuclear deal

Iran will no longer abide by restrictions set under the landmark nuclear agreement it had reached with world powers in 2015, the country's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said as tensions with the U.S. continue to escalate.

Tehran is lifting restrictions on the number of nuclear centrifuges it can operate as the "fifth and final remedial step" in rolling back its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Zarif tweeted Jan. 6. The JCPOA sought to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions against the Middle Eastern country.

Iran will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Zarif added. The country will run its nuclear program based on its technical needs, the state-affiliated Press TV reported, citing a government statement.

The decision comes after a leading Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, on Jan. 2, raising fears of an outright armed conflict between Washington and Tehran. U.S. President Donald Trump recently warned that the country would retaliate "in a disproportionate manner" should Iran strike any American target.

Iran raised its enriched uranium stockpile as the first step not to comply with the JCPOA after the U.S. walked out of the nuclear agreement and imposed sanctions on the country. It then began using advanced centrifuges to enhance its stockpile and injected gas into the centrifuges as the next steps.

Iran said it would resume complying with the JCPOA if sanctions imposed on the country by the U.S. are lifted, Press TV said. Similarly, Zarif tweeted that all of the steps that Iran has taken so far are reversible "upon EFFECTIVE implementation of reciprocal obligations."