Iran To Grow Nuclear Stockpile With 'No Restrictions'
The political fallout over the killing of a top Iranian general last week has intensified as Iraq and Iran threaten the US over its deadly airstrike.
Iran has announced it is suspending all its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal it had with six major world powers.
The announcement, which was relayed via state media, said the nation would abandon its limitations on enriching uranium, but promised to continue cooperating with the U.N nuclear watchdog.
“Iran will continue its nuclear enrichment with no restrictions .... and based on its technical needs,” a government statement cited by television said.
The move is a further step back from Iran's commitments to the deal which it has been gradually overstepping since 2018, when the US announced its own withdrawal from the deal.
Under the nuclear deal, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions.
On Sunday, Iran said it would begin complying with the limitations again if all US sanctions were removed.
The move is thought to be part of the growing fallout between the two nations which drastically escalated on Friday when a US airstrike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani as well as a number of Iraqi officials at Baghdad airport.
The killing immediately raised the threat of retaliation, after sparking anti-US protests across Iran.
The fallout also spread to Iraq where many are angry the killing was carried out on Iraqi soil.
The nation's parliament voted overnight for US troops to be expelled from the country.
Iraqi lawmakers called for foreign troops to be withdrawn which would see an end to a four-year agreement with the US to allow its troops into the country to help fight Islamic State.
Despite the resolution, Iraq's President Barham Salih urged his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani to show restraint in the wake of the killing.
"The president stressed the importance of self-restraint and wisdom in this critical time in order to contain the current crisis, protect the security and stability of the region, the sovereignty of its nations, and banish the specter of war and violence,” his office said in a readout of a phone call.
The US has refused to back down over the attack, and it's unclear whether it will withdraw its troops amid the threat of retaliation.
Donald Trump took to Twitter overnight, warning Iran that the US had "two trillion dollars" worth of new military equipment it would "send their way" if it attacked any Americans or American bases.
In a series of tweets, the president said Soleimani had killed an American and badly wounded many others.
"He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations," Trump said.
"Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran."
He also warned that he was giving "official legal notice" via Twitter that should Iran strike any American or US target, they would quickly strike back.
"The United States will quickly and fully strike back and perhaps in a disproportionate manner," Trump tweeted.
"Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless."
On Saturday, Scott Morrison called for restraint and de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East and said the government was working to protect Australians in the region.
He declined to say whether Australian troops in the area would be withdrawn but confirmed Australia's embassy in Iraq had been put "effectively in lockdown".
He said Australia had not been given any notice from the US about the airstrike.
"The United States took this action based on their own information and they took that action without discussing it with partners," he said.