The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Donald Trump leads the world to war against Iran

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at… Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about… Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identifiedNorth Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Other threats that have appeared at one time or another in the administration’s rotation include China, Cuba, the mainstream media, former FBI director James Comey, and Shakespeare (for writing Julius Caesar and then somehow, from the grave, persuadingthe Public Theater to run a scandalous version of it).

Through it all, however, Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam.

You’re worried about Trump and the nuclear football? The prospect of blowback from an all-out U.S. assault on the Islamic State keeps you up at night? A preemptive strike against North Korea, which Mattis acknowledges would be disastrous, has you rethinking that upcoming trip to Seoul?

Sure, those are all dystopian possibilities. But if I had to choose a more likely catastrophe, it would be a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran. After all, everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

The Fate of the Deal

The nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union is hanging by a thread. Trump made no bones about his distaste for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He promised to tear it up.

He hasn’t done so. It’s not just that he’s gotten pushback from the usual suspects in Washington (diplomats, foreign policy mavens, talking heads, journalists). Even members of his inner circle seem to see value in the agreement. Mattis, who is otherwise hawkish on Iran, has stood by the JCPOA and diplomacy more generally. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has, albeit reluctantly, acknowledged that Iran has lived up to its side of the agreement. Then there are all the American jobs on the line from the Iranian purchase of Boeing jets.

Even though Trump hasn’t torn up the agreement, he has certainly attempted to give it a good crumple. He has directed the Treasury Department to apply additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program. He’s considering the option of declaring the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Congress, meanwhile, is pursuing its own complementary set of sanctions against Iran (though, because it’s bundled with sanctions against Russia, the legislation may not meet Trump’s approval).

None of this violates the terms of the JCPOA. But it challenges the spirit of the accord.

Adding insult to injury, Trump damned Iran with faint condolences after the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump wrote. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Talk about bad taste. After September 11, Iranians gathered for candlelight vigils to mourn the mostly American victims of the attacks. The Iranian government didn’t say anything about chickens coming home to roost after U.S. military interventions in the Middle East, for that would have been inappropriate (though accurate).

But Iran might yet have to make a statement that echoes Trump’s tone-deaf remark: States that tear up international agreements risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Proxy Wars

The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups.

Both countries could decide to team up against the Islamic State. And indeed, Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria this last weekend in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Tehran. As after September 11, when Tehran and Washington briefly worked together, cooperation against Sunni extremists would seem a no-brainer.

But the would-be caliphate, having lost most of Mosul and now teetering on the verge of conceding its capital in Raqqa, is shrinking at a rapid clip. Which may well explain why the United States has been wading deeper into the Syrian conflict. For the first time since the war in Syria began, U.S. forces shot down a Syrian government plane this last weekend. It’s only the latest in a series of attacks on Assad’s forces, according to The Atlantic:

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Several administration figures, notably Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey in the National Security Council, are eager to confront Assad and his Iranian backers more aggressively. Mattis, however, has reportedly opposed several of their risky propositions. Regardless of the Pentagon chief’s somewhat more risk-averse behavior, both Iran and the United States are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the collapse of ISIS………

Back in 2013, Trump said,

We will end up going to war with Iran because we have people who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Every single thing that this administration and our president does is a failure.

Who knew that Donald Trump could be so prescient? The president has proven himself high-performing in at least this one regard: self-fulfilling prophecies.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

US Senate’s move to impose new sanctions on Iran contradicts the nuclear deal

Iran says US Senate bill contradicts nuclear deal, Tehran, Iran, June 11 By Mehdi Sepahvand  

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said the US Senate’s move to impose new sanctions on Iran is contradicts the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We believe such legislation is contradictory to the principle of good will and successful implementation of the JCPOA,” he said, IRIB news agency reported June 11.

Araqchi censured the legislation as “shameful” and said it shows “confusion” and “wrong policies”.
He described the U.S. Senate’s status in condemning Iran for supporting terrorism is “farcical” and “shameful”.

The US Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran.

A senior Senate aide said the Iran sanctions measure could come up for a vote as soon as next week. The legislation would impose new sanctions on Iran over its defense missile program, support for resistance movements and claims of human rights violations against the country.

To become law, the measure would have to pass the Republican-led House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump. So far, Washington has slapped two rounds of sanctions on Iran under the new US administration in breach of a nuclear accord.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Why is Trump claiming, (with no evidence) that Iran is developing nuclear weapons?

What’s Behind Trump’s ‘Baseless Claims’ About Iran’s ‘Nuclear Weapons’, Sputnik, 27 May 17, Commenting on the recent remarks of Donald Trump regarding Iran, which Tehran labelled as ‘Iranophobia’, Iranian political analyst Ali Reza Rezakhah explained to Sputnik Persian what the real purpose behind the comments of the US leader is and who he’s really talking to.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump promised that Tehran will never develop a nuclear weapon.”Iran will never have a nuclear weapon that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters before the meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump’s remarks came the day after the Arab Islamic American Summit was held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where the US president said that Iran has been supporting terrorists, militias and extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the Middle East.

Tehran was quick to label Trump’s remarks as “Iranophobia,” accusing the US and its leader of “repetitive and baseless claims” about Iran.

“The American president tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia,” spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Bahram Qassemi said a day after the US President finished his trip to Saudi Arabia.

Sputnik Persian sat down with Iranian political analyst and expert in American studies Ali Reza Rezakhah to talk on the war of words between the US administration and the Iranian government.

“Tehran has never voiced its intention to possess any nuclear arms,” Ali Reza Rezakhah reminded Sputnik.

Moreover, he further explained, Iran has announced that the use of any weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear arms in particular, is banned by Islam. A corresponding fatwah (a legal opinion in the Islamic faith) on the ban of stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons has been issued by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Besides, the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program and the absence of any intentions to possess nuclear arms have been stipulated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as Iran’s nuclear deal.

“Donald Trump’s remarks, therefore, are nothing but pure PR and bait for the mainstream media. The words have been said to please the Israeli Prime Minister,” Ali Reza Rezakhah told Sputnik.

He echoed the words of Bahram Qassemi, saying that Trump’s visit to both Riyadh and Tel Aviv and his rampant remarks are the new wave of “Iranophobia”, which the US leader is trying to spread.

He further noted that regardless his low ratings, Donald Trump might get certain success in his efforts.

“‘Iranophobia’ might become a basis for creation of a new terrorist coalition of an international caliber. And Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel come as a proof to it,” he said…….

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Election of Rouhani s good result for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal

Elysee: Rouhani reelection gives hope for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal  – The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said that the reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the nuclear deal.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

“The reelection of President Rouhani strengthens the hope that his government will abide accurately by the historic agreement of July 14, 2015, which allowed to regulate through the diplomatic means the disagreements on the nuclear issue and to engage in the new stage of the relations between Iran and the international community. France, in turn, will continue to exercise vigilance over the strict implementation of [the agreement’s] elements,” the statement distributed by Macron’s press office read.

In the document, the French president congratulated his Iranian counterpart on the reelection and expressed hope for the improvement of the economic, scientific and cultural ties between Tehran and Paris.

Apart from this, Macron called on Iran to contribute to the settlement of the crises in the Middle East.

“Adhering to the development of the political dialogue with Iran, France reiterates the necessity of the diplomatic regulation of the conflicts in the Middle East and urges Iran to participate in it,” the statement stressed.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran warns on USA nuclear tests and the arms race

Iran raps US nuclear stance as provocative, warns about arms race,–Dehqani-NPT-Conference-Nuclear-Weapons-Vienna A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official has criticized the “provocative” nuclear stance adopted by the United States, saying the world is witnessing an arms race among nuclear powers.

The director general for political and international security affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, made the remarks in an address to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Saturday.

“The existing nuclear weapons have already endangered international peace and security and the current world cannot deal with the beginning of a new round of arms race,” Dehqani said.

“That is the reason why any attempt at [unleashing] an arms race must be ended,” he added.

He said lack of real progress towards disarmament over the past 50 years was the “biggest challenge” to the NPT implementation.

The Iranian official expressed concern about the persistence of such a situation and warned that NPT’s credibility would be undermined if no immediate action was adopted to that effect.

According to the NPT, countries that possess nuclear weapons must fulfill their legal commitments to slash their atomic arsenals “completely, immediately, with goodwill and without any precondition,” he said.

It is estimated that there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, which is “a big threat to the survival of humanity,” Dehqani added.

US President Donald Trump said in February that he wants to ensure the US nuclear arsenal is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its weapons capacity.

Under Article VI of the NPT, all parties to the treaty undertake to pursue good-faith negotiations on effective measures related to nuclear disarmament and the cessation of nuclear arms race.

The preparatory committee, which opened in Austria on May 2 and will conclude on May 12, is responsible for addressing substantive and procedural issues related to the NPT.

May 8, 2017 Posted by | Iran, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Growing trade between Iran and European Union following implementation of the nuclear deal

A New Era for Iran: Trade With EU Grows 79 Percent on Nuclear Deal Implementation  May 4th, 2017 Iran’s exports to the European Union have increased by over 300 percent after the implementation of the historic 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete says.

Speaking at the first-ever Iran-EU Business Forum on Sustainable Energy in Tehran on Saturday, Canete added that trade between Iran and the union showed 79 percent boost following the implementation of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), IRNA reported.

According to figures released by the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat in February, Iran’s exports to the EU stood at €5.494 billion in 2016 as compared to €1.235 in 2015 due to the EU resuming oil imports from Iran following the nuclear deal.

Canete expressed the 28-nation bloc’s keenness to cooperate with Iran in the nuclear energy sector and said the JCPOA prepared the ground for the resumption of Iran-EU cooperation.

The commissioner reiterated the EU’s support for the nuclear agreement and said Iran and the union started to cooperate with each other in different sectors in 2016 and managed to sign many agreements.

He urged both sides to continue to upgrade their cooperation and expressed hope that the ongoing forum in Tehran would lay the ground for interaction in clean energy. He noted that he would help European firms make more investment in Iran.

Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

Following the conclusion and implementation of the JCPOA, Iran and EU member states launched cooperation and signed several agreements in various fields.

More than 50 European companies and business associations and some 40 Iranian energy companies are participating at the Tehran forum with the purpose of enabling business relations and partnerships between Iran and the EU and laying the ground for further cooperation and joint partnerships in the energy sector.

It will provide a platform for investors and businesses to look into investment opportunities for clean energy, renewable energy efficiency and energy conservation actions in Iran.

May 5, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency commends success of Iran nuclear deal

Nuclear Deal Gains Significant, , May 04, 2017

 The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency stressed that the historic deal between Iran and major powers is a significant gain for nuclear verification.

Yukiya Amano made the statement in a message to the participants of the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which started on Tuesday, Press TV reported. Amano noted that IAEA inspectors have once again confirmed that Iran has been carrying out its obligations under the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Since the implementation of JCPOA began in January 2016, we have been verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the agreement,” he said. “Our inspectors have expanded access to sites and have more information about Iran’s nuclear program. That program is smaller than it was before JCPOA came into effect. Iran is provisionally implementing the additional protocol to its safeguards agreement with the agency.” Under the agreement, time-bound limits have been placed on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment


TILLERSON ATTACKS IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL AND VOWS A “COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW”, PPP Focus, May 4, 2017“…….Iran is “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear deal struck with world powers, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, warning America would set out its position on that soon. And Tehran has given no indication of wanting to ditch the deal, properly known as the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

On April 20 at the United Nations, the USA ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, added to the Trump administration’s barrage of criticism of Iran, calling Tehran the “chief culprit” in conflicts in the Middle East and urging the UN to make dealing with Iran a “priority”.

…..A senior adviser said last month that the USA will continue to adhere to the deal and “will also work very hard to make sure that Iran does”. … “If sanctions are re-imposed on Iran, Iran can walk from the deal”, said Jeremy Bash, Former CIA Chief of Staff.

The administration says it is reviewing these accords and could still pull out of them……

China hopes all parties could ensure the nuclear deal was implemented, appropriately handle disagreements and make positive contributions to nuclear non-proliferation and peace and stability in the Middle East, Lu added. “But if they try to constrain investment on Iran, that goes against the agreement”. The hardliners are already emboldened. Iran has been extremely isolated internationally due to these sanctions.

The nuclear deal was sealed in Vienna in July 2015 after 18 months of negotiations led by former Secretary of State John Kerry and diplomats from the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Britain, China, France and Russian Federation – and Germany…….

Tillerson’s letter follows an assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency in February that Iran has so far complied with restrictions on its uranium enrichment and is not pursuing construction on its heavy-water research reactor.

The bottom line is that the Trump administration has approved 90 days more of sanctions relief for Iran…..

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear deal is an issue in Iran’s election

One man is stoking fear over Iran’s presidential election — and the nuclear deal 5/4/2017 CNBC, May 3, 2017 – Supporters of Iranian cleric and presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi vawe Iranian flags during Raisi’s electoral rally prior to presidential elections in Tehran, Iran on April 29, 2017.

The likely successor to Iran’s supreme leader has entered the country’s presidential election, and that’s throwing a lot into question.

Many still expect President Hassan Rouhani to win another term when Iranians go to the polls on May 19. But the emergence of Ebrahim Raisi as the conservative favorite has tightened the race and raised concerns about oil, a historic nuclear deal, and the fragile reopening of the Iranian market.

Raisi was an unknown until he rose to prominence last year when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei named him the custodian of an important Shiite shrine. The move sparked speculation that Raisi is in line to succeed the 77-year old supreme leader.

A hardline victory this month would put conservatives on a collision course with a combative Trump administration, endangering the 2015 agreement that put limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Hanging in the balance is Iran’s oil production, which has grown by roughly a million barrels a day since sanctions were lifted. So too are investment plans by energy giants to develop the country’s massive oil and gas reserves, and billions in aircraft sales by companies including Boeing.

More broadly, the election represents a choice between joining the global economy under Rouhani — who spearheaded the nuclear deal — and the so-called ‘resistance economy’ championed by hardliners, which is designed to protect politically connected domestic businesses.

Khamenei has not publicly backed Raisi, but generals from the influential Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps paid the candidate an official visit, cementing the view that he is the ayatollah’s choice.
Raisi could backfire on hardliners……..

The election will depend on the economy and whether voters feel the benefits of the nuclear deal have trickled down to them, in Eurasia Group’s view.

Rouhani has restored a sense of security by preventing hyperinflation and shortages, but unemployment remains high, particularly among young people.

Following the nuclear deal, oil is flowing more freely, but there is a sense that Rouhani’s promise of prosperity has not come to pass.

‘He’s not being hit on the nuclear deal,’ Vatanka said. ‘He’s being hit on how he oversold it.’


May 5, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Trump might want to rip up Iran nuclear agreement, but actually, he can’t

Why Trump Can’t Rip Up Iran’s Internationally Brokered Nuclear Deal , Sputnik News 21 Apr 17   While the Trump administration admitted that Iran has complied with the 2015 nuclear agreement, it continues to send mixed signals to Tehran, accusing the latter of sponsoring terrorism. Speaking to Sputnik Persian, Hamid Gholamzadeh assumed that Washington is looking for any excuse to rip the deal up.

Although the Trump administration admitted Tuesday that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement and extended the sanctions relief given to Tehran, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leveled criticism at Iran on Wednesday, dubbing the deal a “failed approach.”

Tillerson emphasized that the US is going to carry out a “comprehensive review” of its policy toward Iran, which, according to the Secretary of State, is about to follow in North Korea’s footsteps.

“The Trump administration is currently conducting across the entire government a review of our Iran policy… an unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it. The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach,” Tillerson said as quoted by CNBC……..

Speaking to Sputnik Persian, Hamed Mousavi, a professor at the Department of Political Sciences of the University of Tehran, highlighted that Iran’s nuclear agreement is an international deal in the first place.

“One should pay attention to a few points, in particular, the multilateral nature of the obligations under the JCPOA. The US should not forget that a nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement between [Washington] and Iran. The United States cannot unilaterally abolish the international agreement that was signed by Iran and several other countries and which was approved by the UN Security Council. This is contrary to international law,” Mousavi emphasized.

Grigory Yarygin, Associate Professor at the Department of American Studies of the School of International Relations at St.Petersburg State University, echoed Mousavi.

“This nuclear deal was concluded not only between Tehran and Washington, but it is Iran’s deal with six international mediators. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the attempt to cancel this deal will succeed,” Yarygin told Radio Sputnik.

“We must understand that at the international level, significant efforts were made… to ease tensions between Iran and the United States and prevented possible tragic consequences related to the [Iranian] nuclear program,” he said.

For his part, Hamid Gholamzadeh, an expert on North America and English Chief Editor of Mehr News Agency, suggested in an interview with Sputnik Persian that Washington is looking for an excuse to undermine the deal.

“The US has recognized that Iran is fulfilling its obligations. But this did not convince them. Therefore, the US is looking for new pretexts, which they want to prove using the relevant documents. Despite the reaffirmation of Iran’s commitment to its obligations, the US accused it of supporting terrorism in order to obtain a justification [for imposing sanctions],” Gholamzadeh explained.

“I believe that the US will play out its own scenario: they will try to reimpose the sanctions, unless Europe, Russia and China, as the main negotiators, try to prevent these plans,” he added.

The question then arises as to why the new administration is pushing ahead with its plan to rip the Iran nuclear deal up?

Robbie Gramer of Foreign Policy magazine believes that Donald Trump is seeking to restore US-Saudi relations, which were undermined by the US nuclear deal struck under Obama………

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

American State Dept certifies that Iran is complying with nuclear deal. Tillerson slams the deal anyway!

Tillerson Slams Nuclear Deal after State Department Certifies Iranian Compliance, A proliferation expert suggests the certification was made to comply with law and avoid a crisis while reviewing its Iran policy. The Weekly Standard, APR 20, 2017 | By JENNA LIFHITS Secretary of State Rex Tillerson slammed the Iran nuclear deal for its limited scope and eventual sunset date Wednesday, and said the Trump administration is conducting an exhaustive review of its Iran policy.

The secretary’s rebuke came one day after his State Department certified that Iran is complying with the deal. The decision to certify likely follows from the administration being knee-deep in an intensive review of the agreement and uncertain about next steps, top proliferation experts told THE WEEKLY STANDARD………

While Tillerson did not specify whether the administration would scrap or rigorously enforce the deal, he and other administration officials have suggested a preference for the latter.

Late Tuesday, Tillerson certified to Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal.

The president must by law report to Congress about Iranian compliance with the deal every three months. If the administration does not submit a compliance certification or determines that Iran is in “material breach” of the deal, Congress has the ability to quickly re-impose sanctions lifted under the deal. The certification drew the ire of some in the White House who would have preferred to see no certification filed and the deal subsequently done away with.

The administration likely issued the certification to meet the conditions of the law and avoid a crisis while reviewing its Iran policy, a top proliferation expert told TWS………

If the administration had not issued the certification, the diplomatic fallout could have been significant, David Albright (founder of the Institute for Science and International Security)  added.

Tillerson said this week that the administration is conducting a broad review of its Iran policy, including the nuclear agreement and whether to maintain related sanctions relief…….

Administration officials have also reportedly been considering broadening sanctions against Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration confused about Iran nuclear agreement

White House Shouldn’t Try To Reverse Iran Nuclear Deal, Parsi Says, NPR, April 20, 20175 , Heard on Morning Edition  Steve Inskeep talks to Trita Parsi, an Iran scholar, who warns of dire consequences if Trump officials renege on the nuclear accord and reverse a pledge to ease sanctions against Tehran.

Let’s make sense of two moves that President Trump’s administration made this week. The administration affirms that Iran is following a nuclear deal. The administration also says Iran is misbehaving around the Middle East. Put another way, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Iran is following a deal that the Trump administration really doesn’t like.
INSKEEP: One observer of the administration moves is Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council. He supported the nuclear deal made by the Obama administration, although he is not on good terms with Iran’s government. Welcome to the program.

INSKEEP: So what does it mean that President Trump, who said he would rip up this nuclear deal on day one, instead says Iran is following it?…..

PARSI: Well, I think the first thing to say is that it doesn’t seem as if the Trump administration really knows what it’s doing. It’s a significant contradiction to first come out and say that the Iranians – contrary to all of their claims that Iran would be cheating – actually is living up to the deal only to come out the day after and saying, well, we hate the deal anyways and signaling that the U.S. might actually be walking away from the deal, unless of course the aim is to get rid of the deal without the U.S. having to pay the cost for it, meaning instead of the U.S. violating the deal directly by not renewing these sanctions waivers, killing the deal by escalating tensions in Yemen and elsewhere in the region and hoping that that will force the Iranians out of the deal…….

INSKEEP: Wouldn’t you like some pressure on this government, though, even though you are a supporter of the nuclear deal?

PARSI: Certainly. There’s many areas in which there needs to be pressure on Iran, particularly, I would say, on the human rights front. But an approach that is centered on pressure and that is completely void of diplomacy most likely will lead to a military confrontation…….

INSKEEP: Can you just remind us what the basics of this nuclear deal are? Iran still has a nuclear program – right? – but it’s restricted.

PARSI: Iran has a restricted nuclear program. There are inspections in every aspect of Iran’s program. And all of the various pathways that Iran had towards building a nuclear bomb as a result of this deal has been closed. Some of these restrictions will be lifted in about 15 or so years. But the most important restriction is the inspections regime, the additional product called a Non-Proliferation Treaty, will be permanent, granted, of course, that all sides live up to their end of the bargain. And as the Trump administration certified two days ago, so far, the Iranians are living up to the bargain. And now, the United States also has to continue to waive sanctions in order for the United States to be in compliance with the deal.

INSKEEP: OK. You just mentioned waiving sanctions. Does President Trump have to actively do something to keep the sanctions off Iran for the moment?

PARSI: Yes. Before May 18, the United States is obliged to continue to waive sanctions in order for the U.S. to be in compliance. If it doesn’t, then the U.S. pulls out of the deal, and that will likely cause the Iranians to do the same.

INSKEEP: So that would be the next big moment to watch, potentially, is whether President Trump is willing to affirmatively keep sanctions eased on Iran.

PARSI: Exactly. And the day after the deadline is the Iranian presidential elections.

INSKEEP: And in which the president who did the deal, President Hassan Rouhani, is up for re-election.PARSI: He is up for re-election. And if he loses, then we will have a president in the United States and a president in Iran that most likely will be opposed to this deal. And that would be very negative for the continuation of this nuclear accord.

INSKEEP: Trita Parsi has a book coming out called “Losing An Enemy: Obama, Iran, And The Triumph Of Diplomacy.” He’s with the National Iranian American Council……

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

New book: Nuclear Multilateralism and Iran.

Championing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Rules: The EU and Iran , Lobelog, by Peter Jenkins, 20 Apr 17 In a newly published book, Tarja Cronberg contrasts EU and US conceptions of multilateralism in the nuclear field. Her work is titled Nuclear Multilateralism and Iran.

A former member of the European Parliament (EP) and chair of the EP delegation for EU relations with Iran, Cronberg writes: “For the US multilateralism is a means to an end, but for Europeans it is an end in itself.” Both the EU and the US are committed, she continues, to upholding international law, well-functioning international institutions, and a rules-based international order. But the EU’s commitment is more heartfelt and goes deeper than the US commitment. After all, the EU itself is a multilateral institution, and, lacking military resources, is more dependent on global rules. The US approach is “utilitarian,” writes Cronberg, quoting Robert Kagan, whereas the EU approach could be characterized as both idealistic and needy (my words, not hers).

These distinctions are the starting-point for an analysis of the EU contribution to resolving the concern aroused by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports in 2003 that Iran had “pursued a policy of concealment” for 18 years and had failed to declare the possession and use of nuclear material to develop a uranium enrichment capability. Cronberg finds that the EU contribution was important, even essential to the eventual outcome of that process. The EU showed itself to be a “unified” and effective “actor.”

Good Cop/Bad Cop

This finding leads her to offer several recommendations to EU policymakers. Her chief recommendation relates to the role the EU should aspire to play in the event of similar nuclear proliferation cases in the future. She would like the EU role to be “autonomous.” In effect she is advocating that the EU put itself forward as a purer champion of a multilateral rules-based order than the United States, to lead the international search for peaceful solutions.

In support of that recommendation she makes a telling point. On moral and political grounds the five Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) ought to have disbarred themselves from preaching nuclear non-proliferation years ago. Most NPT parties resent the continuing reluctance of the NWS to act on their NPT pledge to negotiate “in good faith” on nuclear disarmament. Indeed most parties find NWS hypocrisy nauseating. In contrast, although two NWS are members of the EU (only one, in all probability, from April 2019), the EU as a whole is entitled to characterize itself as a non-nuclear weapon entity………

This is a thought-provoking book that draws on “front-line” experience of the issues and historical events that the author addresses. It appears at a time when the commitment of the United States to the multilateral rules-based order that it fathered over 70 years ago seems weaker than ever.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, resources - print | Leave a comment

Foreign Ministers at G7 declare support for Iran nuclear agreement

G7 FMs declare support for Iran’s nuclear deal IRNA   – The G7 Ministers of Foreign Affairs in the final declaration of their meeting in Lucca, Italy have expressed support for the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as an important contribution to the non-proliferation regime,” the Group of 7 (G7) Industrialized nations, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, said in Italy.

“Continued and full implementation of the JCPOA is essential to build confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature,” the declaration further read.

The G7 foreign ministers also called for full commitment by all parties involved in the nuclear deal.

“We value the JCPOA’s comprehensive structure and the commitment by all parties to its solid verification mechanism,” they said. We commend and continue supporting the IAEA in its crucial work in Iran, including monitoring and verification to help ensure compliance with Iran’s JCPOA commitments and safeguard obligations, thus playing a key role in fostering mutual trust,” they said.

They further added that, “We stress the need for all parties to entirely and consistently fulfill all their commitments under the JCPOA in good faith.”

The G7 foreign ministers also asked the Islamic Republic of Iran to remain to comply with its JCPOA-commitments.

“We reaffirm the need for Iran to strictly abide by all its nuclear related commitments,” they said in their declaration.

The declaration further referred to the need for the Resolution 2231 of the United Nations Security Council to be fully implemented.

“UN Security Council Resolution 2231 needs to be fully implemented, including its provisions prohibiting the transfer of arms,” the declaration noted.

It also touched upon Iran’s role in Syria and noted, “We call upon Iran to play a constructive regional role by contributing to efforts to achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and other parts of the region and to cooperate in countering the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.’

According to the G7 official website, the G7 Ministers of Foreign Affairs met on 10-11 April in Lucca. A traditional meeting held once a year between the seven most industrialized countries of the world.

April 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

US reaffirms Iran nuclear agreement 11 Apr 2017, Washington, 11 April (Argus) — The US administration’s new focus on crises in Syria and North Korea is highlighting a full retreat from President Donald Trump’s pledge to rescind the nuclear agreement his predecessor signed with Iran.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson today reaffirmed support for the multilateral agreement — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — that lifted restrictions on crude exports from Iran in January 2016. The EU, Russia and China also are parties to the agreement.

The G7 foreign ministers, meeting in Lucca, Italy, in a statement hailed the agreement’s “important contribution to the non-proliferation regime.” Implementation of the agreement will “build confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature,” the ministers said.

The US’ approach to Iran so far has not departed greatly from the path former president Barack Obama’s administration paved following the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions, even though Trump still denounces the deal. Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran following tests of ballistic missiles, just like his predecessor did. And the Pentagon continues to view Iran as a threat to US interests in the Middle East, including the freedom of navigation in the straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb.

Iran since the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions increased production by more than 900,000 b/d to 3.8mn b/d in February.

Senior White House officials contend that Iran’s missile tests are evidence of a covert nuclear weapons program. Iran says its program is defensive in nature.

The US administration promised to push for a stronger international response to the missile tests than Obama did. But today’s G7 statement only expresses “deep regret” over the tests.

The need to coordinate sanctions programs with the EU is likely a key driver in the new administration’s approach. EU officials also persuaded US senators to delay advancing a widely supported bill to expand the scope of sanctions on Iran over the missile tests. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will wait until after the Iranian presidential election on 19 May to schedule a vote on the bill, committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) said.

The G7 statement calls on Russia and Iran, as allies of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime, to ensure Syria’s compliance with the UN convention banning the use of chemical weapons. But the US is directing the bulk of its criticism over Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians at Russia.

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment