Trump lays out new Iran strategy Friday, complicating European ties

Trump lays out new Iran strategy Friday, complicating European ties

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Iran abides by all its commitments on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and emphasized that all co-authors of the document must abide by it, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after a telephone conversation of the two diplomats. He would not say whether he would be open to other changes, stressing new conditions might violate the deal.

Signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, the deal relieved sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbing its disputed nuclear program.

Republicans have complained that the deal delays Iran's nuclear ambitions but could allow Iran to resume its nuclear program after certain restrictions expire.

Doing so has kept the U.S.in compliance with the accord, but because it's purely an issue of USA law, decertification does not matter for the deal itself.

"This is not a way of making deals, not in foreign policy, not in private businesses, and I think President Trump understands this perfectly well", she said.

Political observers have warned that any unilateral action by the United States based on unsupported claims of Iranian non-compliance would isolate Washington, impede future efforts for other nonproliferation agreements in the broader worldwide community and increase the likelihood of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

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Trump faces an October 15 deadline mandated by law to tell Congress if he believes Iran is complying with the nuclear accord and if it advances US interests.

"The decertification is an essential first step to persuading the Europeans that the alternatives to fixing the deal could be President Trump's decision to abandon the deal", said Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute.

Two other USA officials, who also requested anonymity, said Trump's bellicose rhetoric on a number of fronts is troubling both many of his own aides and some of America's closest allies, a few of whom have asked US officials privately if Trump's real objective is attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. "We may have to array our forces to prepare for. calibrated strikes".

"There is no technical nor political space to renegotiate this deal", Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told PBS Wednesday.

The reversal underscores deep concerns among lawmakers that Trump will inform Congress in the coming days that the landmark 2015 agreement with Iran is contrary to America's national security interests.

But several key Democrats suggested there might be room to negotiate with Republicans about beefing up the deal without eviscerating it.

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By moving unilaterally to scrap the agreement against the advice of many members of his own cabinet, the other nations that signed the deal, and most of the world, Trump is "undermin [ing] the credibility of the United States in all manner of negotiations, making it unlikely-to take just one unsafe example-the standoff with North Korea will be resolved by peaceful means".

Trump will use an executive order to declare Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organisation. That could include Iran pulling out of the deal as well and restarting uranium enrichment activities, or Iran could stay in the deal and try to drive a wedge between the USA and its allies.

The Europeans seem more inclined to try to "build" on the deal in this way.

"As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it", said the California lawmaker.

But it could be hard to get both Iran and its ally, Russia, back to the table for a new round of talks. The IAEA certified in its latest quarterly report on August 31, 2017, that Iran has complied with the JCPOA and that its stock of low-enriched uranium and centrifuges for enrichment are in line with the nuclear pact.

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