Wednesday, 26 April, 2017

Tillerson declares the Iran nuclear deal a failure

Debra Rodriguez | 20 April, 2017, 06:56

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared the Iran nuclear deal a failure on Wednesday but left open the possibility the Trump administration would uphold it nonetheless. The deal stank, he said then.

The deal "fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran", Tillerson said at a news conference. "Had the Trump administration not done so, it would have triggered legislative procedures and potential reimpositions of sanctions, which would then declare the USA intent to renege on its JCPOA obligations", she added.

He faulted the agreement for "buying off" a foreign power with nuclear ambitions, saying: "We just don't see that that's a prudent way to be dealing with Iran".

"Public statements lambasting the nuclear deal with Iran as a "failed approach" and comparing the country with North Korea are reckless and blatantly false".

Pence visited Seoul, South Korea, this week to declare that the United States was united with its allies to stem North Korea's threat.

While admitting that Tehran has honored the accord fully, Tillerson noted: "President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States", Tillerson further said, giving no more details.

In an ominous warning, Tillerson linked Iran's behavior to North Korea's and said the United States would no longer engage in "strategic patience" with either country.

Tillerson's certification also "indicates that the Trump administration has had a sort of... coming of age, to realize that this nuclear deal is not such a awful deal that President Trump was declaring during the campaign", Emad Kiyaei, a policy advisor with the American-Iranian Council, a non-profit whose mission is to provide a "sustainable dialogue and a more comprehensive understanding of US-Iran relations", told Reason.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, said last month after meetings with senior Trump administration officials she was reassured in the talks that the USA was committed to fully implementing the deal.

"Obama's Iran policy remains in force by fiat and the inability of Iran hawks in Washington and the administration to decide exactly what to do", she said.

Although Tillerson confirmed on Tuesday, at the end of a prior 90-day review period, that Iran is not cheating on the terms of the JCPOA, Washington has not ruled out breaking its own side of the agreement. U.S. sanctions, as approved by Congress, were suspended instead of revoked; they can be reimposed with the stroke of a presidential pen.

The pact was signed in July 2015 by Iran and six major powers - the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump was an outspoken critic of the deal but had offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, modify it or keep it in place with more strenuous enforcement.

For Trump, the nuclear agreement will pose an early test between the pull of his campaign statements and the push of political realities.

Analysts and former government officials said it was unlikely the Trump administration would renounce the Iran agreement.

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