Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Iran lays out nuclear deal red lines for Europeans

U.S. Secy of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at joint news conference at Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv April 29 2018 U.S. Secy of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at joint news conference at Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv April 29 2018
Charlie Simmons | 29 May, 2018, 13:44

After the USA withdrawal from JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), also known as the nuclear deal, the existing fragile balance maintained by the deal has been badly shaken.

"We are going to do so, and we will hold discussions, dialogue with our Iranian and Israeli partners".

The U.N. atomic watchdog policing the pact said on Thursday Iran continued to comply with the terms of the deal, but could be faster and more proactive in allowing snap inspections.

"Iran's missile program is completely indigenous and defensive".

Also on Saturday, Iran's Defense Minister Amir Hatami declared that Iran's enemies, led by the United States, were working to limit Iran's defense capabilities.

British, Chinese, French, German and Russian officials will try to flesh out with Iran's deputy foreign minister a strategy to save the deal by keeping oil and investment flowing, while circumventing US sanctions that risk hurting the economy.

In the IAEA's previous report it had said that Iran had informed it of a decision to "construct naval nuclear propulsion in the future".

Perhaps the most hypocritical demand in Pompeo's speech was that Iran "must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government", which the United States has repeatedly subverted for a decade and a half. "The US can not be trusted for negotiation by any means", the Iranian official went on to say. But if Iran carries through with its threat to return to full-scale enrichment, the deal's off with those nations as well. "I'm sorry to say that we haven't (seen) the Plan B yet".

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He cautioned that Washington could at some point impose economic sanctions against European companies participating in the subsea Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany.

A senior European Union official said after the meeting that the bloc could not "give guarantees but we can create the necessary conditions for the Iranians to keep benefiting from the sanctions lifting under the JCPOA and to protect our interests and continue to develop legitimate business with Iran". "I'm more confident now" than before the talks, he said.

Policy on import curbs will likely be decided over the next few months after taking into account the responses of other users of oil, including China, India, South Korea, France and Italy, he said.

The five signatories still committed to the agreement have said they want Iran to stay in the deal, with the European countries saying they would not rule out further talks with the Islamic Republic on an expanded text. "The deal was seen through an economic lens but also through a security lens, setting a modus vivendi between Tehran and Washington".

For the first time since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) came into force in 2015, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany gathered - at Iran's request - without the United States, which pulled out on May 8 and said it would re-instate sanctions.

A parallel realignment may be underway on the Korean Peninsula, as South Korean President Moon Jae-in tries to salvage a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after Trump abruptly canceled it this week.

While the path that lies in front of the administration is fraught with difficulties, Pompeo's rejection of Obama's defeatism about America's place in the world, coupled with his realism about the need to bring a fundamentally weak Iranian regime to heel, is a necessary prelude to any effort to roll back the gains Iran has made since 2013.

Pompeo has called for the negotiation of a new deal that would go far beyond the single focus of the nuclear agreement and would have the status of a formal treaty. Among them, Pompeo demanded that Iran make wholesale changes in its military and regional policies or face "the strongest sanctions in history".

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