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Iran negotiating with Europe to stay in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Iran asks Europe what it can offer to keep it in the nuclear deal after U.S. pullout, WP, By Michael BirnbaumMay 25  Email the author

VIENNA — Iran will decide within weeks whether to stay in a faltering deal to restrain its nuclear program and is pressing Europe to compensate for President Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions, a senior Iranian official said Friday.

The official warned that Tehran could also pull out from a separate treaty that limits the spread of nuclear weapons.

The caution came ahead of the first talks involving all the remaining parties to the landmark 2015 deal since the United States pulled out this month.

An official report Thursday declared that Iran is still in compliance with the stringent controls on its nuclear program.

Iran has long declared that its program is limited to the peaceful generation of nuclear energy and production of medical isotopes. If it were to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the 1970 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and seek nuclear weapons, it could spark an arms race in the already volatile Middle East.

The United States and Israel have also warned that an Iranian nuclear weapons program would be countered with force……….https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/iran-asks-europe-what-it-can-offer-to-keep-it-in-the-nuclear-deal-after-us-pullout/2018/05/25/f0e8be70-6011-11e8-8c93-8cf33c21da8d_story.html?utm_term=.74b34870a29f

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May 26, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

European Union remains committed to the Iran nuclear agreement, reassures Iran

Europe reassures Iran of commitment to nuclear deal without U.S, Alissa de Carbonnel 19 May 18 TEHRAN (Reuters) – The European Union’s energy chief sought to reassure Iran on Saturday that the bloc remained committed to salvaging a nuclear deal with Tehran despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the accord and reimpose sanctions.

Miguel Arias Canete delivered the message on a visit to Tehran and also said the 28-nation EU, once the biggest importer of Iranian oil, hoped to strengthen trade with Iran.

“We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the (nuclear) agreement the Europeans will… fulfill their commitment. And they said the same thing on the other side,” Arias Canete, European Commissioner for energy and climate, told reporters after talks with Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

Salehi said it would be disastrous if EU efforts fail to preserve the 2015 deal, in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. “The ball is in their (EU leaders) court,” Salehi said. “We hope their efforts materialize.”

Since Trump’s announcement of the U.S. exit on May 8, EU leaders have pledged to try to keep Iran’s oil trade and investment flowing but admitted that will not be easy to do so.

Britain, France and Germany back the deal as the best way of stopping Tehran getting nuclear weapons but have called on Iran to limit its regional influence and curb the missile program……..https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-eu/europe-reassures-iran-of-commitment-to-nuclear-deal-without-us-idUSKCN1IK063

May 22, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran to negotiate with world powers to keep nuclear deal in place

Iran seeks ‘clear future design’ for imperilled nuclear deal  Aljazeera, 14 May 18   FM says Tehran is ‘ready for all options’ as he embarks on tour with pact’s other signatories in wake of US withdrawal. 

Iran’s foreign minister has held talks in China as he began a diplomatic tour with the remaining signatories of a multinational nuclear deal following the recent US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 pact.

Speaking on Sunday in Beijing, Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined Tehran’s readiness “for all options” but expressed optimism that this round of negotiations could save the 2015 deal.

“We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement,” Zarif said, speaking alongside his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

“[But] if the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured.”

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would remain committed to the deal “if the remaining five countries abide by the agreement”.

Diplomatic tour

After the Chinese capital, Zarif will attend talks in Moscow and Brussels with representatives of the pact’s other signatories.

Under the deal signed in Vienna with six world powers – China, France, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany, and the European Union – Iran scaled back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran has been meeting its nuclear commitments fully………https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/iran-seeks-clear-future-design-imperilled-nuclear-deal-180513135916279.html

 

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia, Israel, dictating to Trump USA foreign policy on Iran nuclear deal?

Trump Outsources US Foreign Policy to Riyadh, Tel Aviv Over Iran Deal – Analysts https://sputniknews.com/us/201805101064310160-usa-trump-iran-foreign-policy/  Jonathan Ernst 17 10.05 WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States by exiting the Iran nuclear agreement has now essentially outsourced US foreign policy in the Middle East to both Israel and Saudi Arabia, analysts told Sputnik.

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters the United States is ready to announce an additional set of sanctions against Iran as early as next week in response to its alleged development of nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed by the P5+1 and EU, which ensures Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful in exchange for sanctions relief. In addition, the US Treasury said it would reimpose the highest-level economic sanctions possible on Iran.

In the week prior to Trump’s decision Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an internationally-broadcast address presented old intelligence and tried to claim that Tehran was continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

In fact, Iran has remained compliant under the conditions of the JCPOA as verified by the IAEA in 11 reports since January 2016 — a reality US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo even admitted during his confirmation hearings.

Israeli, Saudi Victory

Retired US Army Major and historian Todd Pierce told Sputnik that Trump’s announcement was a triumph for the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia, both of whom want the United States to confront Iran.

“Trump has placed US foreign policy in the hands of the coalition of Israel under Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia under [Crown Prince] Mohammad bin Salman, which his son in law Jared Kushner helped bring together to collectively wage war against Iran and Syria,” he said.

Trump’s statement on why he was pulling out of the international nuclear agreement with Iran was expressed in terms that made it sound like Trump was determined to go to war, Pierce observed.”Constructively, in effect, Trump’s talk sounded like a declaration of war against Iran, with the first step being to tighten up the ‘blockade’ of Iran, meaning in the 21st century version of that, US sanctions,” Pierce said.

Trump’s address was also notable for how closely it followed the arguments made eight days earlier by Netanyahu in his efforts to persuade the US government and Congress to scrap the agreement, Pierce pointed out.

Trump, like his ally and friend Netanyahu had shown scant regard for factual accuracy in his presentation.Trump was not an extremist or aberration in setting such policies but was fulfilling goals that had been followed for decades, Pierce pointed out.

Tehran Undaunted

Global peace activist and expert on the medical dangers of nuclear energy, Dr. Helen Caldicott, told Sputnik that she expected Tehran to continue honoring its commitmentsunder the 2015 nuclear accord.

“I think there will not be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East despite the fact that Israel was vehemently opposed to the treaty and surreptitiously lobbied against it with the powers that be in the US,” Caldicott said.

Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, the organization that was the co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had pledged to remain in the accord.

“Rouhani says that Iran will abide by the JCPOA, a stand which I intuitively had predicted,” she said. “It also seems clear that the European nations will definitely not abide by Trump’s terms of increased sanctions, after begging him to comply.”
The United States still needed to realize that Russia was not an ideological enemy of the West any more the way the Soviet Union had been throughout the Cold War, Caldicott maintained.

“If America could come to its senses and decide that all nuclear weapons are useless symbols of annihilation and have absolutely nothing to do with ‘defense’ it could lead the world to sanity, survival and nuclear disarmament,” she said.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said on Wednesday that the country may start development of nuclear weapons if Iran continues its nuclear program.

Caldicott is the author of many books, including “The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military Industrial Complex” and “War in Heaven:” The Arms Race in Outer Space.” The Smithsonian Institution has named her one of the most influential women of the 20th century.

 

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Expert commentary on the Trump decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal: its implications for North Korea

The Trump decision: dangerous, irresponsible, and full of implications for North Korea https://thebulletin.org/commentary/trump-decision-dangerous-irresponsible-and-full-implications-north-korea11802 EXPERT COMMENTARY 9 MAY 2018, Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, Arms Control Association

Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran clearly violates the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While the move is unsurprising—given Trump’s failure to recognize the nonproliferation value of the deal and frequent threats to walk away—it is dangerous and irresponsible, and it risks manufacturing a nuclear crisis that the international community cannot afford.

There was no legitimate reason for Trump to reimpose sanctions. For the past two years, the nuclear deal has verifiably restricted Iran’s nuclear program and subjected it to intrusive monitoring and verification. Even critics of the deal, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have admitted that there is no evidence that Iran is in violation of the agreement.

Trump’s main criticism—that the deal paves the way to an Iranian nuclear weapon in 10 years—is based on a flawed analysis that discounts the value that the permanent monitoring mechanisms and prohibitions put in place by the deal possess. They are a bulwark against nuclear weapons development.

By violating the deal, Trump has only isolated the United States and undermined Washington’s credibility. His “plan B” —to negotiate a “better deal” with Iran— is completely unrealistic. After this clear demonstration that the United States cannot be counted on to implement an agreement in good faith, Trump will hard pressed to gain any support for sanctions, let alone new talks. As a result, Trump is inciting a proliferation crisis, rather than working with allies to develop a long-term diplomatic strategy that would build on the agreement in the years ahead and address Iran’s malign activities outside of the accord.

Despite Trump’s reckless decision to reimpose sanctions, it would be premature to declare the nuclear deal dead. The JCPOA is a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council and Washington’s P5+1 partners—China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom—which have pledged to implement the deal, irrespective of US actions. And these states and the European Union have powerful tools at their disposal to block the secondary effects of US sanctions.

It will be critical that these states move quickly to insulate legitimate business from US sanctions, demonstrating to Iran that there is still an incentive—trade with Europe and other developed economies—to continue abiding by the nuclear commitments made under the accord. Failure to ensure that Iran has international trading opportunities will make it more likely that Tehran will respond to Trump’s violation by breaching the nuclear limits. While Iran is unlikely to dash for a bomb, Iranian officials have left the door open to restart uranium enrichment to 20 percent uranium 235, a level of fissionable material currently prohibited by the deal. If Iran choses this path it would destabilize the region and increase the risks of conflict.

Trump’s decision has nonproliferation consequences beyond Iran. Trump is about to sit down at an important summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Violating the Iran deal undermines US credibility in those negotiations and sends a message to Kim Jong-un that even if an agreement is reached and North Korea abides by its terms, there’s no guarantee that Washington will fulfill its commitments. This is a dangerous precedent to set and risks this historic opportunity to de-escalate tensions with North Korea.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Iran, North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump exits the Iran nuclear deal: its future now uncertain

Trump withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal. What now?  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, John Mecklin  May 18 

With his decision today to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump has put the long-term future of the deal in doubt, at the very least. In a televised announcement from the White House, Trump said the United States would reimpose the “highest level” of economic sanctions against Iran and would hold other nations accountable for violating those sanctions. During his truculent presentation, Trump asserted that the Iran nuclear deal—known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—was “horrible” and “one-sided.” Even if Iran complied with the terms of the “decaying and rotten structure” of the JCPOA, the president claimed, it could move to the verge of creating nuclear weapons in “a very short time” even as it continued to build nuclear-capable missiles and support terrorism across the Middle East and the world. (The president’s claims run counter to the assessments of the numerous international security experts who note that the JCPOA’s intrusive inspection regime and other components would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons indefinitely.)

As he announced US withdrawal from the Iran deal, Trump threatened dire consequences for Iran if it resumed work toward nuclear weapons. At the same time, he asserted that his administration would work with allies toward a new deal that he was “ready, willing and able” to negotiate with Iran. Iran has previously insisted it will not renegotiate the JCPOA.

In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s decision, it was unclear how Iran, the other five countries that agreed to the JCPOA—Russia, China, the UK, France, and Germany—and the rest of the world would respond over the long term. The Bulletin invited a wide variety of top international security experts to provide comments on Trump’s decision and its potentially wide-ranging ramifications. Their responses are published below, in hopes they will help the international community find the best possible path forward. ………. https://thebulletin.org/trump-withdraws-iran-nuclear-deal-what-now11791

 

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Can Europe salvage the Iran nuclear deal?

Europe scrambles to salvage Iran nuclear deal after US withdraws  https://nypost.com/2018/05/10/europe-scrambles-to-salvage-iran-nuclear-deal-after-us-withdraws/  ANKARA , 10 May — European countries are powerless to salvage the nuclear deal with Iran after the United States pulled out, the deputy head of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) said Thursday.

Britain, France and Germany said they remained committed to the deal despite Tuesday’s decision by President Trump to withdraw.

But Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said Europe “cannot act independently over the nuclear deal,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Tehran would remain in the 2015 agreement, though Europe had only a “limited opportunity” to preserve it.

On Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast doubt on the ability of the European signatories to guarantee Tehran’s interests, adding: “I do not trust these countries either.”

Khamenei has the final say on all state matters and commands the loyalty of the IRGC, which has huge political and economic influence domestically.

Salami said Iran’s enemies were not seeking military confrontation. “They want to pressure our country by economic isolation … Resistance is the only way to confront these enemies, not diplomacy,” Fars quoted him as saying.

Trump also said Tuesday he would revive US economic sanctions against Iran, penalizing foreign firms doing business with Tehran and further undermining what he called “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”

Europeans fear a collapse of the deal could raise the risk of deepening conflicts in the Middle East.

Early on Thursday, Iranian forces launched their first attack on Israel from inside Syria, firing rockets at army bases in the Golan Heights, Israel said.

That prompted one of the heaviest Israeli barrages against Syria since the conflict there began in 2011.

The pact, the signature foreign policy achievement of Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, was designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb in exchange for lifting most sanctions that had crippled its economy. Sanctions were removed in 2016.

Trump complained that the agreement failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 or its role in conflicts in the Middle East, where Tehran has been involved in a proxy war from Lebanon to Yemen for decades.

In defiance of Western pressure to curb the missile program, Tehran says it is an essential precautionary defense against the United States and other adversaries, primarily Gulf Arab states and Israel.

“Exiting the deal and their concerns over Iran’s missile work are excuses to bring our nation to its knees,” Salami said.

The IRGC’s overseas arm, the Quds force, operates in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, among other places.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

America got the Iran nuclear program going

How America Jump-Started Iran’s Nuclear Program, History,  // MAY 9, 2018 

For several decades now, the U.S. has sought to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But ironically, the reason Iran has the technology to build these weapons in the first place is because the U.S. gave it to Iran between 1957 and 1979. This nuclear assistance was part of a Cold War strategy known as “Atoms for Peace.”

The strategy’s name comes from Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech, given before the United Nations General Assembly in 1953. In it, he suggested that promoting the non-military use of nuclear technology could discourage countries from using it to create nuclear weapons, or “Atoms for War.”

The speech came only eight years after the invention of the atomic bomb, at a time when the U.S. was anxious to keep these new and frightening weapons from proliferating around the world. Strange as it sounds, President Eisenhower viewed his “Atoms for Peace” strategy partly as a form of arms control.

“He thought that sharing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes would reduce the incentives of countries to want to make nuclear bombs,” says Matthew Fuhrmann, a political science professor at Texas A&M University and author of Atomic Assistance: How “Atoms for Peace” Programs Cause Nuclear Insecurity. ……..

the U.S. provided nuclear assistance to countries it wanted to influence, such as Israel, India, Pakistan, and Iran.

At the time, the U.S. was closely allied with Iran’s Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. So closely, in fact, that when Iran toppled the Shah’s monarchy and democratically elected a prime minister, the CIA staged a 1953 coup d’état that put the Shah back in power. Part of the reason the U.S. valued Iran as an ally was because of its strategic location bordering the Soviet Union. During the early part of the Cold War, the U.S. set up a base in Iran to monitor Soviet activity.

In this context, the United States’ nuclear cooperation with Iran “was, in part, a means to shore up the relationship between those countries,” Fuhrmann says. The cooperation lasted until 1979, when the the Iranian Revolution ousted the Shah and the U.S. lost the country as an ally.

All of the nuclear technology the U.S. provided Iran during those years was supposed to be for peaceful nuclear development. But the “Atoms for Peace” strategy ended up having some unintended consequences.

“A lot of that infrastructure could also be used to produce plutonium or weapons-grade, highly-enriched uranium, which are the two critical materials you need to make nuclear bombs,” Fuhrmann says. In effect, the U.S. laid the foundations for the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Iran first became seriously interested in creating nuclear weapons during the 1980s Iran-Iraq War. It tried unsuccessfully to develop them in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Still, Iranian nuclear development remains an international concern, especially now that Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In the weeks leading up to Trump’s decision, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to convince him to exit the deal by arguing that Iran was still pursuing nuclear weapons. Other policy experts and world leaders have rejected this claim, and Fuhrmann says he’s seen no evidence that “Iran has violated the deal, or that Iran has done anything since 2003 … to build nuclear bombs.”

However, now that the U.S. has withdrawn from the nuclear deal, Fuhrmann worries “Iran is going to have incentives to do those things, whereas under the deal, those incentives were greatly reduced.” https://www.history.com/news/iran-nuclear-weapons-eisenhower-atoms-for-peace

May 11, 2018 Posted by | history, Iran, USA | Leave a comment

Iran might now resume cyber attacks on USA institutions

THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL’S UNRAVELING RAISES FEARS OF CYBERATTACKS  Wired Andy Greenberg, 18 May 18 

WHEN THE US last tightened its sanctions against Iran in 2012, then-president Barack Obama boasted that they were “virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt.” Iran fired back with one of the broadest series of cyberattacks ever to target the US, bombarding practically every major American bank with months of intermittent distributed denial of service attacks that pummeled their websites with junk traffic, knocking them offline. Three years later, the Obama administration lifted many of those sanctions in exchange for Iran’s promise to halt its nuclear development; Tehran has since mostly restrained its state-sponsored online attacks against Western targets.

Now, with little more than a word from President Trump, that détente appears to have ended. And with it, the lull in Iranian cyberattacks on the West may be coming to an end, too.

Cutting Swords

President Trump announced Tuesday that he would unilaterally withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015, and impose new sanctions against the country within 90 days. Since then, foreign policy watchers have warned that the move would isolate the US, risk further destabilizing the Middle East, and invite another nuclear rogue nation into the world. But for those who have followed the last decade of digital conflicts around the globe, the unraveling of the Iran deal reignites not only the country’s nuclear threat, but also the threat of its highly aggressive hackers—now with years more development and training that have only honed their offensive tactics.

“They’ve developed this ability over the last years and there’s no reason for them not to use it now,” says Levi Gundert, an Iran-focused analyst at private intelligence firm Recorded Future. “They want to try to induce other countries to think about repercussions before levying sanctions, and they have a real capability in the cyber domain.”

……… since the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran has largely restricted its hacking to its own neighborhood, repeatedly hitting its longtime rival Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations with cyberattacks but limiting its attacks on Western targets to mere cyberespionage, not actual disruptive operations.

……… Iran’s abrupt entrance into the digital arms race came in 2012, when state-sponsored Iranian hackers calling themselves the Cutting Sword of Justice used a piece of malware called Shamoon to overwrite the files of 30,000 machines on the network of energy company Saudi Aramco with a file that displayed the image of a burning American flag. A similar malware infection struck Qatari gas firm RasGas soon after. The attacks, which temporarily paralyzed the IT operations of one of the world’s largest oil companies, is widely seen as retaliation for Stuxnet, the NSA- and Israeli-created malware that was unleashed against the Natanz Iranian nuclear facility in 2010 to destroy its enrichment centrifuges.   ………

Iran may have quietly grown into a serious threat to any enemy nation that it can reach via the internet. And now that the last three years of tense peace appears to be ending, its list of fair-game targets may once again include the United States, too.

Iran Attacks

 

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US sanctions Iran currency network after Trump pulls out of nuclear deal

 CNBC 10 May 18 

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Rouhani says Iran will remain in nuclear deal 

https://en.trend.az/iran/politics/2900330.html, 8 May 2018 

President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Iran would remain committed to a multinational nuclear deal despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.

“If we achieve the deal’s goals in cooperation with other members of the deal, it will remain in place… By exiting the deal, America has officially undermined its commitment to an international treaty,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

“I have ordered the foreign ministry to negotiate with the European countries, China and Russia in coming weeks. If at the end of this short period we conclude that we can fully benefit from the JCPOA with the cooperation of all countries, the deal would remain,” he added.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the full name for the nuclear deal, struck in 2015 between Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – and Germany.

Rouhani added that Iran was ready to resume its nuclear activities after consultations with the other world powers which are part of the agreement.

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

European leaders consider ways to save the Iran nuclear deal

Europe pledges to save Iran nuclear deal ‘for our shared security’  https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/europe-pledges-to-save-iran-nuclear-deal-for-our-shared-security-20180509-p4ze4a.html, By Nick Miller, 9 May 2018 

Budapest: European leaders have hinted at financial incentives or compensation for Iran to persuade it to stay it in the nuclear deal that the US has rejected.

And they are likely to act to protect European companies trading with Iran despite the US re-imposing sanctions.

In a joint statement UK prime minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron greeted with “regret and concern” Donald Trump’s announcement that he would re-impose sanctions against Iran and withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the (agreement),” they said. “This agreement remains important for our shared security.”

They said Iran “continues to abide by the restrictions” in the deal preventing its development of nuclear weapons, and “the world is a safer place as a result”.

“Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.”

They encouraged Iran to “show restraint in response to the decision by the US” and to continue to meet all its obligations including atomic agency inspections and monitoring.

“In turn, Iran should continue to receive the sanctions relief it is entitled to whilst it remains in compliance with the terms of the deal,” the leaders said.

The European Commission’s foreign affairs representative and vice president Federica Mogherini said the nuclear deal “is not a bilateral agreement and it is not in the hands of any single country to terminate it”.

“It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture,” Mogherini said, adding that it was “even more” relevant in the context of negotiations with North Korea.

“The nuclear deal with Iran is crucial for the security of the region, of Europe and of the entire world,” she said.

She said Europe “fully trusted” the work of the nuclear watchdog which had certified Iran had fully complied with it s commitments under the deal.

And she too suggested Europe would look to compensate Iran for the impact of renewed US sanctions.

“The EU has repeatedly stressed that the lifting of nuclear related sanctions has a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran, including crucial benefits for the Iranian people,” she said

“The EU is fully committed to ensuring that this continues to be delivered on. I am particularly worried by the announcement of new sanctions. I will consult with all our partners in the coming hours and days to assess their implications. The EU is determined to act in accordance with its security interests and to protect its economic investments.”

And she appealed to Iran to “stay true to your commitments, as we will stay true to ours. And together, with the rest of the international community, we will preserve the nuclear deal.”

May, Macron and Merkel said they wanted to build on the nuclear deal to address other issues including Iran’s ballistic missile programme and “its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen”.

Macron Tweeted that the three countries would “work collectively on a broader framework” covering nuclear activity after the deal ends in 2025, ballistic activity and “stability in the Middle East”.

On Monday UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson travelled to the US to make a last-ditch appeal to save the deal, but didn’t get an audience with the president.

Instead he appeared on the cable news program Fox & Friends – which Trump regularly watches – and remarked that “Plan B does not seem, to me, to be particularly well developed at this stage”.

May 9, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Ending Iran nuclear deal could have grave consequences: Jordan fears new arms race

JORDAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER SEES ARMS RACE IF IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL ENDS
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi says an end of the Iran deal could have grave consequences across the Middle East, 
BY REUTERS JERUSALEM POST MAY 8, 2018  MURNAU – Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi on Tuesday warned of “dangerous repercussions” and a possible arms race in the Middle East unless a political solution was found to free the region of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

Al-Safadi spoke in Germany before an expected announcement by US President Donald Trump on whether he will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal or work with European allies who say it has successfully halted Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Al-Sadadi said he did not know what the US president would do, but urged continued conversation and dialog with Iran, despite what he called widespread concerns among Arab countries about Iran’s “interventionism” in the region.

“We all need to work together in making sure that we solve the conflicts of the region … and strive for a Middle East that is free of all weapons of mass destruction,” he told reporters after a meeting with leaders of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-left “grand coalition” government.

“If we do not look at the political picture and … find a way to ensure that the whole region is free of (these weapons), we’ll be looking at a lot of dangerous repercussions that will affect the region in terms of an arms race,” he said.

In March, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS news that his kingdom would “without a doubt” develop nuclear weapons if Iran, Riyadh’s arch foe, did so.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, although it neither confirms nor denies possessing atomic weapons. …….https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Jordans-foreign-minister-sees-arms-race-if-Iran-nuclear-deal-ends-554777

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Jordan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran’s moderate Rouhani government in danger, if U.S. President Donald Trump scraps Tehran’s nuclear deal

Nuclear deal a challenge for Rouhani as Iran hardliners close in, Parisa Hafezi, ANKARA (Reuters) 4 May 18 – Iran’s hardliners are preparing to bring President Hassan Rouhani to heel if U.S. President Donald Trump scraps Tehran’s nuclear deal with major powers, officials and analysts believe.

Trump has threatened to abrogate the 2015 agreement by not extending sanctions waivers when they expire on May 12, if Britain, France and Germany do not “fix” its “terrible flaws”.

This sets the stage for a resurgence of political infighting within Iran’s complex power structure, Iranian officials said.

Annulment of the accord could tip the balance of power in favor of hardliners looking to constrain the relatively moderate Rouhani’s ability to open up to the West.

While the spotlight is on Trump’s eventual decision there will be a display of unity in Tehran, a senior Iranian official told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.

“But when the crisis is over, hardliners will try to weaken and sideline the president,” the official said.

Nor can the president expect any weakening of Iran’s system of clerical rule as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the nuclear deal, meaning “Rouhani will be in a no-win situation”, said a relative of Khamenei.

For Rouhani the stakes are high. If the deal falls apart, he could become politically vulnerable for promoting the 2015 accord, under which non-nuclear sanctions were lifted in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

“It will also lead to a backlash against the moderates and pro-reformers who backed Rouhani’s detente policy with the West … and any hope for moderation at home in the near future will fizzle out,” said political analyst Hamid Farahvashian.

It is a delicate balance. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei knows that Iranians, many of whom took to the streets earlier this year to protest against high food prices, can only take so much economic pressure.

….. The internal politics will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Rouhani to pursue detente with the West and make concessions in return for economic gains,” said another Iranian government official. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-politics-analysis/nuclear-deal-a-challenge-for-rouhani-as-iran-hardliners-close-in-idUSKBN1I51P0

May 5, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics | 1 Comment

Iran will not ‘renegotiate or add onto’ nuclear deal

Iran will not ‘renegotiate or add onto’ nuclear deal – Daily Mail

Iran says will not renegotiate nuclear deal, warns against changes   ANKARA (Reuters) 3 May 18– Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday U.S. demands to change its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers were unacceptable as a deadline set by President Donald Trump for Europeans to “fix” the deal loomed.

Trump has warned that unless European allies rectify the “terrible flaws” in the international accord by May 12, he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief for the oil-producing Islamic Republic.

“Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed years ago and has been implemented,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a video message posted on YouTube.

Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the accord as is, but now, in efforts to keep Washington in it, want to open talks on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 – when key provisions of the deal expire – and its role in Middle East crises such as Syria and Yemen.

A senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also warned Europeans on Thursday over “revising” the nuclear deal, under which Iran strictly limited its enrichment of uranium to help allay fears this could be put to producing atomic bomb material, and won major sanctions relief in return.

“Even if U.S. allies, especially the Europeans, try to revise the deal…, one of our options will be withdrawing from it,” state television quoted Ali Akbar Velayati as saying.

The European signatories to the deal have been trying to persuade Trump to save the pact, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama. They argue it is crucial to forestalling a destabilizing Middle East arms race and that Iran has been abiding by its terms, a position also taken by U.S. intelligence assessments and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Zarif said: “Let me make it absolutely clear and once and for all: we will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add onto a deal we have already implemented in good faith.”

Referring to Trump’s past as a property magnate, Zarif added, “To put it in real estate terms, when you buy a house and move your family in, or demolish it to build a skyscraper, you cannot come back two years later and renegotiate the price.”…… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-usa/iran-says-will-not-renegotiate-nuclear-deal-warns-against-changes-idUSKBN1I41CO

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment