US President Donald Trump has exactly one month, namely until October 15, to confirm to Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement. He has to do so every 90 days, as stipulated by the so-called Corker-Cardin law. It was passed by a largely Iran-critical Congress in 2015 to ensure lawmakers had a permanent say in US dealings with Iran. If the president fails to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement, Congress has 60 days to reinstitute sanctions against the country. This would equate to the US de facto leaving the nuclear treaty, which could possibly spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Thus far, Trump has certified twice that Iran is adhering to the nuclear deal, albeit reluctantly. Now, growing evidence suggests he does not intend to recertify the deal in mid-October. Not only did he tell the Wall Street Journal on July 25 that he would be "surprised if they were in compliance." Trump also added that he would, if necessary, ignore his … [Read more...] about Donald Trump and the Iran nuclear deal – a crisis in the making
Iran nuclear deal
US President Donald Trump on Friday refused to certify the nuclear deal with Iran, effectively sending the decision to Congress on whether the US will impose sanctions on Iran and thus withdraw from the international agreement. Congress now has 60 days to decide if it will reimpose sanctions lifted under the agreement that had been signed in 2015 in exchange for Tehran dismantling its nuclear program. It's still unclear how the House of Representatives and Senate will move forward — and there is a chance lawmakers will decide not to put new sanctions on Iran or that efforts to reimpose sanctions will not gather enough votes to go into effect. But this is what US politicians are currently considering. Read more: What is the Iran nuclear deal? While many Republicans, who control both legislative chambers, previously voted against US participation in the deal, several conservative lawmakers have warned of dire consequences of a complete US withdrawal. … [Read more...] about Iran nuclear deal: What’s next?
The "worst deal ever." That is how US President Donald Trump describes the 2015 landmark Iran nuclear accord. He repeatedly has signaled that the United States will withdraw from or revise the agreement, a threat he reiterated most recently during Tuesday's speech at the UN General Assembly. Both the US State Department and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has abided by the agreement, and nuclear non-proliferation experts and other international powers that brokered the deal are pressing the White House to stay in. So why is the Trump administration against the nuclear accord? The answer lies with the deal's alleged weaknesses and, equally important, non-nuclear related issues that the Trump administration would now like to bring onto the negotiating table, such as Iran's ballistic missile program and the Islamic republic's expanding influence in the Middle East. Read more: Donald Trump … [Read more...] about What are Donald Trump’s objections to the Iran nuclear deal?
France stepped up efforts to convince US President Donald Trump to continue a nuclear deal with Iran on Monday as world leaders gathered for the UN General Assembly in New York City. Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the deal as well as other international concerns, including terrorism and security. The US president said on Monday that he would announce a decision "very soon" about whether the US will remain in the deal, making the remarks during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more: Diplomats guarded over Donald Trump's inaugural UN visit France floats post-2025 Iran talks Earlier, France's foreign minister raised the possibility of resuming talks to strengthen provisions in the accord after 2025. Certain limits on Iran's uranium enrichment are set to expire that year under the nuclear deal. "France will try to convince President Trump of the pertinence of this choice [keeping the accord] even if work … [Read more...] about France urges Donald Trump to save Iran nuclear deal
If there is one place in the world where the difference of opinion between Europe and the USA over how to deal with Iran will be most glaringly apparent, it will be in Tehran this Saturday. That is where Iran's re-elected president, Hassan Rouhani, will take the oath of office for his second term. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be among the guests at the ceremony. Germany will be represented by a deputy foreign minister. Their appearance will stand in stark contrast to the attitude of the United States. Speaking in Saudi Arabia in May on his first foreign trip, US President Donald Trump said, "all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran." The attitude signals a serious threat to the so-called Iran nuclear deal signed just two years ago. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement to contain Iran's nuclear activities was the basis for that country's return to the … [Read more...] about Europe and USA on a collision course over Iran nuclear deal
With just over a week before US President Donald Trump must again publicly state whether he intends to certify Iran's compliance to the 2015 nuclear deal, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis warned on Tuesday that it was in the country's national interest to remain a part of the accord unless it were proven that Tehran was not adhering to the to the agreement. Speaking in a Senate hearing, Mattis said: "if we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then clearly we should stay with it. I believe, absent indications to the contrary, it is something that the president should consider staying with." Asked whether he thought remaining in the accord was in US national security interest, Mattis replied, "Yes, senator, I do." The accord, reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015, restricts Iran's uranium enrichment and stockpiles in exchange for easing of international sanctions. Trump, however, … [Read more...] about Iran nuclear deal: Mattis urges Trump not to withdraw from accord
European Union foreign ministers on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to the nuclear agreement with Iran, saying it would continue to keep pushing to restore ties. "The upholding of commitments by all sides is a necessary condition to continue rebuilding trust and allow for continued, steady and gradual improvement in relations between the European Union, its member States and Iran," EU ministers said in a statement from Brussels. The statement comes following strategy talks among ministers concerning the best course of action in dealing with United States president-elect Donald Trump. During his presidential campaign, Trump vowed to tear up the Iran nuclear deal, which was spearheaded by President Barack Obama and regarded as the great diplomatic breakthrough of his second term. However, Trump has described the pact as a "lopsided disgrace" and "the worst deal ever negotiated." The president-elect has been more circumspect since winning last week's election and … [Read more...] about EU foreign ministers urge Trump to commit to Iran nuclear deal
Democrats in the US Senate have gathered the 34 votes needed to make safe the administration's Iran nuclear deal. Senator Barbara Mikulski issued a lengthy statement on Wednesday, saying she had fully researched the issue. "I've asked if we reject this deal, what the alternatives are that would be effective and achievable. I've considered the alternatives very closely," Mikulski said. "But in the end, they don't present a more viable option to this deal. The two alternatives are more sanctions, or military action." "It's unclear if the European Union, Russia, China, India and others would continue sanctions if Congress rejects this deal," the Senator commented. "At best, sanctions would be porous, or limited to unilateral sanctions by the U.S." Mikulski said the agreement was the best way to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions so long as Israel's interests were maintained. "No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime. I have concluded that this Joint … [Read more...] about US President secures support of 34 votes to protect Iran nuclear deal in Congress
As one of a group of signatories to the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, in which international sanctions against the country have been lifted in return for Tehran agreeing to forgo nuclear weapons, Germany has been unsettled by intimations by US President Donald Trump that the US might pull out of the arrangement. So it was no accident that German Foreign Minister Gabriel spent much of the press conference following talks with Zarif addressing the issue. Gabriel said the deal had prevented an "unrestricted nuclear arms race" in the Gulf region and described his country's support for it as unwavering. "We stand behind this agreement and want to support all the parties in their efforts to fulfill it," Gabriel said. "As the Federal Republic of Germany and as Europeans we would oppose any attempts to call it into question." Gabriel added that according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has been meeting its obligations under the deal. Zarif thanked Germany for helping lift what … [Read more...] about German, Iranian Foreign Ministers: Iran nuclear deal must stay
European diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic, along with the Iran nuclear deal's other signatories and many of the US president's own advisers, have failed to convince Donald Trump not to pick apart the agreement. In Brussels, European Union officials are clearly exasperated with the US leader's insistence on mixing a myriad of complaints about Iranian behavior with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the six-party accord signed in 2015 which limits Tehran's ability to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini did not mince words Friday when lambasting Trump's decision not to certify Iran's compliance, which she says has been full, and to ask the US Congress to examine ways to add sanctions on Tehran. Mogherini was officially the deal's mediator when it was concluded in 2015. "This deal is not a bilateral agreement, this is not an international treaty," but part of a UN Security Council Resolution, she said … [Read more...] about EU rejects Donald Trump’s attempt to dump Iran nuclear deal, saying it works