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

Moscow: Trump would make 'big mistake' by leaving Iran deal

Moscow: Trump would make 'big mistake' by leaving Iran deal

Iran says the 2015 nuclear deal is not up for renegotiation, after US President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw from the agreement if its "terrible flaws" were not fixed. But his explicit warning to Europe that the deal must be fixed by the time the next sanctions waivers are due in the spring creates a high-stakes diplomatic deadline that will be hard to meet.

Trump also wants Iran's ballistic missile programme to be addressed.

Trump's Friday announcement will "reflect frustration at European allies and at Congress" for dragging their feet over proposed legislative changes that would call for stricter enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Bloomberg News foreign policy reporter in Washington.

Europeans say these issues should be kept separate from discussion of the deal, but in a nod to U.S. concerns, Mogherini stressed they were raised with Zarif on Thursday.

President Donald Trump earlier said the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal later this year unless the terms of the deal are changed.

Trump has already declared that he thinks the Iran nuclear deal is no longer in the United States' national interest.

While Trump approved the sanctions waiver, the Treasury Department announced new, targeted sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadeq Amoli Larijani, a close ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump will next have to deal with these decisions in mid-May.

Trump's declaration puts great pressure on Britain, France and Germany, the European signatories to nuclear pact with Iran. "This is a last chance".

The cyber unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the Trump administration maintains has stifled social media networks that demonstrators can use to communicate, was also blacklisted.

"Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw".

So far, Trump has continued to follow Obama's lead in regularly signing sanctions waivers so that USA economic measures against Tehran do not "snap back". He said remaining in the pact will give Congress more time to come up with bipartisan legislation regarding Iran.

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

After Tehran had implemented its part of the deal, which was confirmed during IAEA's inspection trips, on January 16, 2016 the USA administration under President Barack Obama lifted sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.

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