Iran rejects Trump's demand for changing nuclear deal

Iran rejects Trump's demand for changing nuclear deal

Whatever happens in the short term, the Iranian nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA) as it is called, is beginning to resemble the stricken Iranian oil tanker now adrift and blazing between China and Japan, which will sink or become a burnt-out hulk of no use to anyone.

On Friday, President Donald Trump said he is extending sanctions relief for Iran one last time so that the nuclear agreement's "terrible flaws" could be fixed.

Under US law, the president is required to renew the waiver on sanctions every 120 days. He is seeking unilateral changes in the terms of the deal on the USA side and a radical re-negotiation on the part of the Iranians and Europeans, neither of which he is likely to get.

A Trump administration official said the sanctions are part of a broader effort to counter Iran's "reckless" and "destabilizing behavior", including actions related to the crackdown on protesters, at least 21 of whom have been killed this month. So the deal has now survived year one of Trump's presidency, and my hunch is that it will continue to do so in year two and the remainder of Trump's presidency, for a good reason - because it is in the national interest of the USA, it is a win-win.

Additionally, the Treasury Department imposed new measures that target Iranian businesses and individuals for human rights abuses.

A key element of Trump's plan is that sanctions will be reimposed - or "snap back" - automatically if Congress finds Iran to be violating the terms of the accord.

"Russia will do everything in its power to save the agreement", he said. Washington also imposed sanctions on the head of Iran's judiciary and others. However, Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, warned that Trump "is setting up the United States to violate it down the road", noting that "threatening to withhold future sanctions waivers in an attempt to force unilateral changes to the deal is unsafe, jeopardizes the future of the agreement, and creates a schism between the United States and its allies".

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Kaveh Afrasiabi: First of all, a small, yet significant sigh of relief that President Trump ultimately listened to the sound advice of his top advisers as well as the various European leaders by sticking with the deal and not scuttling it as he has repeatedly vowed to do so. According to the European Union, which placed its own sanctions on the judiciary chief in 2012, Sadegh Larijani has "personally signed off on numerous death penalty sentences".

"We are gradually coming to the conclusion that an internal decision by the United States to leave the JCPOA has already been made or is close to being made", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency.

In particular, placing judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani on the sanctions list "crossed all red lines of conduct in the worldwide community. and the government of the United States will bear responsibility for all the consequences of this hostile move".

Besides eliminating the so-called sunset clauses in the nuclear deal, Trump is also demanding that Iran allow more timely inspections of sites requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Responding to Trump's speech late yesterday, Zarif tweeted: "Rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, USA must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran". USA and other officials have complained that Iran's ballistic-missile program can easily be converted for nuclear use.

This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official said, but rather would be the result of talks between the United States and its European allies.


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