Monday, 23 July, 2018

US, EU Countries Discuss Fate of Iran Nuclear Deal

Display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali KhameneiReuters
Melinda Barton | 14 March, 2018, 09:40

Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the U.S., UK, France, Russia, and China - Germany and the European Union struck the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015.

But by picking CIA Director Mike Pompeo, an avowed Iran hawk, to succeed Tillerson as secretary of state, Trump sent a clear message that Washington was hardening its stance as a May 12 deadline approaches for the possible reimposition of US sanctions.

Israeli officials said that they believe Trump is serious in his threat to withdraw from the deal by mid- May unless these three European governments - the "E3" - demonstrate their willingness to renegotiate on these points. "It's Trump's line", said another European diplomat.

On the same day as Trump and Netanyahu met, Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceNorth Korea canceled secret meeting with Pence at Olympics Judicial order in Flynn case prompts new round of scrutiny The CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russian Federation meddling MORE said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference that if the deal is not fixed in the coming months, the US plans to withdraw "immediately". If no consensus is reached by that date, Trump is expected to withdraw the USA from the deal.

In recent weeks, Tillerson's deputies have worked to hammer out an arrangement with European allies that could preserve the deal while addressing Trump's concerns about its shortcomings, including Iran's ballistic missile arsenal and provisions that expire in the next decade and beyond. What if Iran becomes a party to that war more directly and overtly rather than clandestinely or covertly, and that becomes a conflict that doesn't just embroil Israel and potentially us by extension but also many of our other allies in the region?

President Trump has opposed the deal from the start, and is demanding broad changes to the already negotiated pact.

Other European officials and former US officials said Pompeo's rise, if he is confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate, might have a more ambiguous effect on the negotiations and that, in any case, Trump's views are paramount.

In the past two months, the four nations have held two talks.

"The JCPOA addresses one of the principal threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program", Votel said, according to Reuters.

The head of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees American forces in the Middle East, warned lawmakers on Tuesday about the consequences of the agreement unraveling.