Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Iran Rejects Trump's Demands to Change 2015 Nuclear Deal

Iran Rejects Trump's Demands to Change 2015 Nuclear Deal

"We will not remain silent as the Iranian dictatorship represses the basic rights of its citizens and will hold Iran's leaders accountable for any violations", the White House said earlier this week.

The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was reached in 2015 among Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States) plus Germany and the European Union.

An administration official told reporters, "He intends to work with our European partners on some kind of follow-on agreement that enshrines certain triggers that the Iranian regime can not exceed related to ballistic missiles, related to nuclear breakout period... to inspection and that would have no sunset clause".

"I have been very clear about my opinion of that deal", Trump said in his January 12 statement.

The White House announced today that President Trump will waive nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

Republican Senator Bob Corker said "significant progress" had been made on bipartisan congressional legislation to "address the flaws in the agreement without violating United States commitments".

As on so many other foreign-policy matters, the United States finds itself isolated on the issue.

In a statement following the signing of the waivers, Trump laid out four conditions that must be met, including increased inspections, ensuring "Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon", and that there be no expiry date to the nuke deal. "We are also targeting Iran's ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people".

But the president also promised to scrap the landmark agreement in 120 days if Congress and European allies don't meet his new demands for strengthening the deal - throwing down the gauntlet on a signature achievement of Barack Obama's presidency. Washington also imposed sanctions on the head of Iran's judiciary and others.

What is the nuclear deal?

The US president has to sign sanctions waivers every four months, while the American intelligence services monitor the Islamic Republic's compliance with the nuclear deal, signed in 2015, which rolled back crippling sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

That decision came despite the United Nations having certified Iran's compliance with the deal eight times.

Trump had privately chafed at having to once again waive sanctions on a country he sees as a rising threat in the Middle East.

Rubio issued a statement recommending that Trump should "impose new sanctions against elements of the Iranian government, including the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks, that are involved in or facilitating the regime's human rights abuses against Iranian protesters, its ballistic missile program, or its support for terrorism". "He wants to deny Iran access to nuclear weapons forever and not just for 10 years", one of the officials said.

Two EU diplomats said EU foreign ministers will discuss what to do now at their next regular meeting, scheduled for January 22 in Brussels.

The new round of US sanctions could possibly include a ban on the purchase of Russian treasury bonds.

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