TRUMP BACKS DOWN ON IRAN SANCTIONS RELIEF… FOR NOW




Robert Harneis –TDO-(FRANCE)  President Donald Trump will further extend sanctions relief for Iran thus breaking an election pledge for the third time.

The Washington political establishment has been divided on the question with many fearing that reinstating sanctions would isolate the United States because it would be in breach of the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal.

The problem for the United States is that it was only one of a number of signatories to the agreement. All five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Russia, China, France and the Britain with Germany and the European Union are parties to it. None of them are prepared to recommend the reintroduction of sanctions for the very good reason that Iran has fully honored the agreement as has been confirmed eight times by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.

However, Trump, who has vowed to scrap the pact, was expected to give the U.S. Congress and European allies a deadline for improving it, a source told Reuters. Without improvements, Trump would renew his threat to withdraw from the agreement.

It is however expected that the American president will attempt to undermine the agreement through the back door by introducing sanctions on other grounds, notably breaches of human rights during the recent demonstrations in Iran. Some commentators suspect that the United States deliberately encouraged the disturbances seeking to cause the Iranian government to over react and give pretexts for new sanctions.

The European signatories who met Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss the problem on Thursday are anxious that if America breaches the agreement by reintroducing sanctions without good cause then Iran will reinstate their nuclear program on the not unreasonable grounds that the Americans are not to be trusted. They are also anxious to continue restoring trade with Iran that was severely damaged by UN sanctions.

In remarks released on Thursday night, Zarif praised talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow and the meeting he had with the European Union’s diplomatic chief and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany on Thursday. He said “What was clear at the meetings yesterday was that the international consensus was based on the fact that any move leading to the destruction of the JCPOA or a change in it would be unacceptable and would be confronted by the international community.” He said that Iran had “many options” if President Trump went ahead and breached the agreement.

The JCPOA agreement was narrowly based on the issue of nuclear fuel enrichment. The American government however wants a wider change in its relations with Iran, with the Islamic Republic ending its intervention in Syria and its support for the Palestinians and Hezbollah described by the Americans as terrorists. They also want Iran to stop testing ballistic missiles. Iran has already made major concessions in the negotiations with the Obama administration and is in no mood to widen the scope of the agreement and make more.