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Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2017

Trump Administration orders Review of Iran Nuclear Deal

nsnbc : U.S. President Donald Trump has tasked the National Security Council to review the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and sanctions on Iran, and to evaluate whether suspending sanctions “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.” The agreement was reached between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1) plus the EU on the sidelines.

Rex Tillerson_USA_Apr 2017U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the review in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Tillerson said that as of Tuesday, Iran is complying with its responsibilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which it agreed to in 2015 after negotiations with the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. “Notwithstanding, Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods,” Tillerson wrote.

Iran supports several organizations such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah which the U.S. perceives as a terrorist organization, while the United States consistently has been linked to the support of allegedly “moderate Syrian rebels” who are perceived as terrorists by Iran, Syria, in part Russia, and others.

The JCPOA focused on Iran’s nuclear program and allegations that it was working to develop nuclear weapons. The Iranian government repeatedly denied those accusations and claimed that it would be inconsistent with Iranian policy to develop or use nuclear weapons. The situation in the country, however, is fragile, and powerful networks linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have repeatedly pressed for Iran going nuclear.

The United Nations as well as individual nations, including the United States, imposed economic sanctions on Iran in an effort to try to get the country to abandon any nuclear weapons ambitions. While Iran stressed it would only use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes it consistently and repeatedly denounced Israel which has an estimated 200 – 400 nuclear weapons, and the fact that the United States has a “don’t ask don’t see” policy in that regard.

Image courtesy Garryknight

Image courtesy Garryknight

On one hand sanctions badly hurt the Iranian economy, particularly limiting its ability to sell oil on the global market, and led to nearly two years of hard-fought negotiations before the two sides reached an agreement. On the other hand, the sanctions also contributed to the development of Iran’s industry and especially its military industrial complex.

In exchange for relief from the sanctions that targeted its nuclear activity, Iran agreed to take a number of steps, including affirming that it will under no circumstances “seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons.” Iran is also allowed to conduct only low-level uranium enrichment, and only so much of it, while also shipping out all of its spent nuclear fuel, turning higher-enriched uranium into reactor fuel, and converting a pair of nuclear sites into facilities used for peaceful research.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the agreement, and a joint commission set up between Iran and the group of six world powers has been established to address any issues that come up. The JCPOA stipulates that if either side believes the other is violating the agreement, they can launch a dispute resolution process, the final step of which is a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to continue lifting the sanctions.

A U.S. move to re-impose sanctions could cause Iran to pull out of the deal. “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part,” the agreement says.

CH/L – nsnbc 19.04.2017

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