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Published: 30th Dec, 2019


In 2018, United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


In 2018, United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): JCPOA is also known as the "Iran deal" or "Iran nuclear deal".
    • The deal was made in July 2015.
    • It is an agreement on Iran's nuclear program made between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) and the European Union.
    • JCPOA limits Iran’s uranium enrichment programme until 2030 and contains monitoring and transparency measures that will remain in place long after that date.
    • A few days after the JCPOA was agreed, it was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • However, in May 2018, United States announced its withdrawal from JCPOA.

Why did US withdraw from JCPOA?

  • United States cited major flaw in JCPOA’s temporary nature and its lack of controls on Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
  • Trump was also highly critical of Iran’s actions in Syria and elsewhere in the region, which he characterizes as Iran’s ‘malign behaviour’.

Concern due to US’s withdrawal

  • Supporters: American conservatives in the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and allies have supported the move.
  • IAEA concern: By all accounts, Iran was honouring its provisions. Leading up to United States' withdrawal, the IAEA asserted that its inspectors had verified that Iran had implemented its nuclear-related commitments since the agreement.
  • Politically motivated: Rather than an evidence-based technical objection to the agreement or its implementation, the US decision to withdraw from JCPOA seems to be a political measure aimed against Iran.
  • Impact on Iran: The withdrawal caused concerns in Iran due to its impact on Iran’s economy caused by US sanctions.
  • Undermines multilateral diplomacy: It undermines the value of multilateral diplomacy and raises questions about the sanctity and sustainability of interstate agreements. Furthermore, it challenges the authority of UNSC which had unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the JCPOA, and had called on all UN member states as well as regional and international organizations to take action to support the agreement’s implementation.
    • US withdrawal from JCPOA risks seriously weakening trust and confidence in international institutions and arrangements that are essential parts of the global security architecture.
  • Undermines nuclear non-proliferation: US action undermines the global effort for nuclear non-proliferation by sabotaging an important and effective anti-proliferation agreement.
    • By exiting JCPOA, the US has heightened risks stemming from Iran.
    • Due to a multi-pronged effect on other parties, this can trigger a preventive race to acquire nuclear weapons.
  • Europe’s stand: European Commission announced its intention to implement the blocking statute of 1996 to declare the US sanctions against Iran illegal in Europe and ban European citizens and companies from complying with them.
    • The commission also instructed the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran.

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