Friday, 21 September, 2018

Threat of nuclear pact changes draws ire of Iran

The Nation Related Article These Are the Real Causes of the Iran Protests Trita Parsi
Patty Aguilar | 14 January, 2018, 11:37

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he will extend sanctions relief on Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal for the last time, threatening a US withdrawal from the landmark pact unless US Congress and European allies can fix the alleged "disastrous flaws".

In his lengthy statement, Trump said the US would work with European partners to remove the nuclear deal's so-called "sunset clauses", which allow Iran to gradually resume advanced atomic activity.

Russian Federation - one of the parties to the Iran pact alongside the United States, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union - called Trump's comments "extremely negative".

His ultimatum puts pressure on Europeans - key backers and parties to the 2015 global agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program - to satisfy Mr Trump, who wants the pact strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days.

Trump's expected announcement comes a day after Britain, France and Germany called on Washington to uphold the nuclear deal. In exchange, economic sanctions on it were lifted.

China will continue playing a constructive role in maintaining and implementing the Iran nuclear deal, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.

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"This is the last chance", Trump said, pushing for a separate agreement and saying the United States would not waive sanctions again to keep Iran in the pact without such an agreement. JCPOA (the nuclear deal) is not renegotiable: "rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran", Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

Two senior Trump administration officials told Reuters on Wednesday that the president, a Republican, had privately expressed reluctance to heed the advice of top advisers recommending he not reimpose the suspended sanctions. These penalties largely cut Iran out of the global financial system, until they were suspended by Obama under the nuclear deal.

He said he would only sign it if an Iranian refusal to allow United Nations inspectors to visit sites triggered an automatic re-imposition of USA sanctions.

In his statement Friday, Trump said he remained open to revising the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, or INARA. Tehran categorically denies it is seeking to develop atomic weapons.

While there may be some relief that Trump has yet to torpedo the hard-won accord, there were clear signs of frustration from European capitals in the runup to the decision.

And Russia spoke out strongly in favor of the accord, calling it "the result of a consensus among many parties".

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