Iran Deal Signatories Still Committed After US Exit


Iran Deal Signatories Still Committed After US Exit

Following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the other signatories said Wednesday they remain committed to the deal.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio the agreement is “not dead.” He said French President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were due to speak to each other Wednesday, and that the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany would discuss the situation with Iranian officials on Monday.

In addition to those diplomatic moves, the foreign ministers of Russia and Germany are holding their own talks Thursday in Moscow with Iran on their agenda.

China’s Foreign Ministry pledged to safeguard the 2015 deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said that it regrets Trump’s decision to walk away from the pact.

A joint statement from the European Union said the JCPOA has so far been working to meet its goal of ensuring Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, and that lifting sanctions on Iran has had a positive impact on trade and relations.

That contrasts strongly with Trump’s view of what he said Tuesday is “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”

In remarks from the White House Diplomatic Room, the president declared that the United States is immediately reinstating all nuclear-related sanctions it waived as part of the JCPOA.

He said the agreement, reached under former President Barack Obama, “didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

Inside Iran’s parliament Wednesday, Trump’s decision was greeted with lawmakers setting fire to a piece of paper with a picture of the American flag as well as another paper representing the nuclear deal.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Iran’s nuclear department should be ready to resume all of its activities.

And President Rouhani said earlier Iran would remain committed to the multinational pact.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement came despite pleas from several of America’s closest allies in Europe not to imperil the pact. Trump and hard-liners close to the president, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, have been fierce advocates for scrapping it.

A senior State Department official told reporters the Trump administration had made “good progress” and “got close” in efforts to reach a supplemental deal with European partners in recent months, including on the issues of ballistic missiles and regional issues.

But the official said the sticking point that prevented an agreement was the so-called sunset clauses in the nuclear deal that allow certain provisions to expire after a given number of years.

Israel, believed to be the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal, has also backed Trump’s rhetoric on the JCPOA.

Obama, whose administration led intense negotiations to strike the agreement, called Trump’s action “misguided.”

“I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake,” he cautioned in a statement.

Immediately after Trump’s remarks, the U.S. Treasury Department announced “wind-down provisions” for existing contracts that European countries have with Tehran to avoid running afoul of U.S. banking regulations.

Under those provisions, after six months sanctions will be back in place related to Iran’s oil, petrochemical and shipping sectors as well as its central bank. Sanctions involving Iran’s purchase of U.S. bank notes, trade in gold or precious medals and providing Iran with aluminum or steel.

A senior White House official told reporters that new sanctions are possible “as new information comes to light.”

Trump’s move allows him to claim he has accomplished one of his major 2016 election campaign promises — removing the United States from the pact he repeatedly deemed “the worst deal ever.”


“People will make this all about Trump, but it is not,” James Carafano, vice president for the Heritage Foundation’s national security and foreign policy institute, told VOA. “The deal was not sustainable over time. No one was happy with it, not even the Iranians, who expected big benefits that never materialized. Trump did the equivalent of a mercy killing.”


Proponents of the JCPOA accuse Trump of misrepresenting the agreement’s clauses, contending it has successfully frozen Iran’s nuclear weapons development. They also said the deal’s demise could prompt a nuclear arms race in the region.

Trump’s announcement was made as he prepares to meet — possibly in about a month — North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, to discuss a possible denuclearization agreement.


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