May 20, 2018

U.S. to continue sanction relief for Iran as part of nuclear deal

15 September 2017, 12:10 | Rufus Hill

IAEA Director General

IAEA Director General

The violation of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal by the United States would be tantamount to breaking worldwide law, a lawmaker said, noting that the European parties to the deal should try to make the USA stay committed or they would also sustain damages.

When it reached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with the USA and five other countries in 2015, Iran also undertook to implement the "Additional Protocol" of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows IAEA inspectors access to facilities that raise concerns.

IAEA director general Yukiya Amano, left, and Iran's Atomic Energy Organization president Ali Akhbar Salehi sign confidential documents in Vienna on July 14, 2015 which, among other things, dealt with how the agency would look into concerns about Iran's nuclear activities at a military site, Parchin.

Trump faces a couple of deadlines.

Only under those circumstances could the USA get countries such as China and Russian Federation to abide by them. Former President Barack Obama's administration, which negotiated the deal, did so in mid-January and Trump's administration did so again on May 17. White House and Pentagon officials are deeply concerned about the potential risks of Iranian retaliation against thousands of USA troops deployed in Iraq and Syria who are in close proximity to Tehran-backed militia.

So, why continue with a deal that Iran is so happy to break? "Whatever tactical disagreements may exist between the US and Europe, there remains a rough strategic consensus about Iran among the allies".

"The Trump administration is continuing to review and develop its policy on Iran". Trump has criticized the deal, but some of his top advisers believe he should preserve it.

Under the law, these sanctions can be waived for a maximum of 120 days, forcing the US government revisit the issue every four months. The president must decide whether to continue to waive a series of economic sanctions that were lifted under the deal, or to reimpose them. "America's nouveau riche president or Congress adopt a new measure on Iran every day, which shows we shouldn't rely on the U.S., and we don't need them after all", Velayati said.

But first Trump must decide to extend sanctions relief to Iran under a separate clock.

"No decision has been made", Tillerson said of the administration's view of the deal.

Iran deal opponents inside and outside the administration argue that Tehran's full compliance is unproven, particularly on allowing nuclear inspections at military sites. Those, however, aren't specifically covered in the nuclear agreement.

The greatest danger that Sherman, along with the authors of that letter, warned is that getting rid of the deal would eliminate any insight into Iran's nuclear activity because it allows for inspections and puts some constraints on Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Sherman warned against decertification, saying it would rob the USA of any leverage against Iran, drive a wedge between the US and its European allies, undermine American credibility in other negotiations such as on North Korea and NAFTA, and empower hardliners in Iran.

Iran, with its young population, "could be won over to a new way of thinking", Johnson said, adding that he has pushed that argument with Tillerson and other Americans.

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