April 25, 2018

How Trump Could Use the Iran Protests to Kill the Nuke Deal

12 January 2018, 12:20 | Rufus Hill

Trump Tentatively Expected to Keep Nuclear Deal, but Iran Issues Threats Anyway

Tillerson Trump to make Iran deal decision today

French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to play world peacemaker, using a phone call with President Donald Trump to insist on the importance of the Iranian nuclear accord and efforts to calm tensions with North Korea.

In October, Trump declined to certify that the agreement was in US national security interests despite reports by the United Nations nuclear agency and others that Iran was abiding by the deal.

Hardliners on Iran in the US Congress have called for the reimposition of the suspended sanctions and an end to the nuclear deal, while some liberal Democrats want to pass legislation that would make it harder for Trump to pull Washington out without congressional consent. (If it did, experts fear, Iran could then declare the agreement null and void and restart its potential quest for a nuclear weapon.) According to reports, administration officials have suggested that, even if Trump does extend the waivers, he might seek new measures over other issues like human rights and Tehran's missile program.

In contrast with the USA position, the European Union is pushing for continued implementation of the agreement, which aims to prevent Iran from constructing nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has been working on amending a U.S. law to include "trigger points" that if crossed by Iran would automatically bring back USA sanctions.

To understand the third path, we must first contextualize it: From the outset of his presidency, Trump has been flagrantly violating the Iran deal.

In October, he refused to recertify for Congress that Iran was complying, accusing it of "not living up to the spirit" of the agreement. The next day, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also reacted similarly, although cautiously, regarding the possibility that Trump would refuse to issue the waivers. The Treasury Department recently announced new sanctions on Tehran's ballistic-missile program-even though no missiles have been launched recently and no tests have been conducted.

Agence France Presse reported on Monday that Iranian officials had warned the global community to be prepared for American withdrawal, adding that the Islamic Republic was already prepared for "any scenario".

In October, Trump announced that he had made a decision to decertify Iran's compliance with the pact. While the US and other world powers rolled back economic restrictions on Tehran, the Iranians severely curtailed their enrichment of uranium and other nuclear activity.

Officials from major world powers and Iran meet roughly every three to four months to assess implementation of the deal, which is monitored by the world's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. Vice President Mike Pence, made a similar assertion in a recent op-ed, arguing that "the last administration's refusal to act ultimately emboldened Iran's tyrannical rulers to crack down on dissent".

MARTIN: The deadline for reimposing these sanctions on Iran is tomorrow. "You'll be finding that out very soon", he said.

Steinberg ventured a prediction, saying, "It's guess work with Trump, but If I had to put money down, and I don't want to, I would estimate that he'll decide to what he did last time, because it worked".

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