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Iran nuclear deal worth keeping

12 January 2018
Iran nuclear deal worth keeping

Instead of using sanctions relief to improve the economy, Iran's leaders increased the military budget by 145 percent and boosted its nuclear and missile programs. But Congress can change the standards for ongoing American implementation, and last week's meeting focused on a bill that might codify the USA government's rejection of controversial elements of the deal, like the sunset provisions that allow restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program to be lifted after approximately 15 years.

In October, Trump said he would not certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement that was negotiated under the previous administration because it was in violation of the "spirit" of the accord, citing its development of ballistic missiles and financial support for terrorism. 2 "I want to stress just in conclusion that I don't think anybody has so far produced a better alternative to the JCPOA as a way of preventing the Iranians from going ahead with the acquisition of the true nuclear capability And I think it's incumbent on those who oppose the JCPOA way to really to come up with that better solution, because we haven't seen it so far".

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is involved in drafting the legislation, said last week that a proposed bill is "moving along" but slowly.

Trump will have a series of decisions to make on the deal in the days following the first waiver deadline on Friday. European countries are banking on the deal, as many began investing in Iran after the sanctions were lifted.

Under U.S. law, the White House must extend those waivers every four months.

If Trump refuses to extend the waivers, the United States risks being in violation of the worldwide accord, a diplomatic minefield.

The EU and Iranian foreign ministers, along with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, have said that today's talks are focused on preserving the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. may pull out of later today.

The BBC also quoted Mogherini as saying the agreement has been "delivering on its main goal". What made the sanctions effective is that it wasn't just the USA that it was doing it. "It is deeply uncharted territory".

"U.S. credibility in terms of our willingness to enter into global agreements, or even our interest in so doing, has already been damaged, and this would be a major blow", said Holgate, now a senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and worldwide Affairs.

"Its continued successful implementation ensures that Iran's nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful".

The old, central bank sanctions largely cut Iran out of the worldwide financial system, and are considered to be the most powerful of the penalties imposed by the USA during the Obama era, along with global penalties for buying Iranian oil. The U.S. president said last week that they would have the full assistance of his government when the time was right.

Trump could move to expand those non-nuclear sanctions, targeting more government officials, or businesses owned by senior clerics, for example, without jeopardizing the nuclear accord. Economic protests that broke out at the end of December rocked some 80 cities and led to the arrest of thousands of Iranians - and at least 22 reported deaths, including of a number of people detained in prison. Presumably this includes protesters and victims of human-rights abuses-exactly the people that Trump and his vice president both claim to want to help.

Trump however, is known to often ignore his counsel on foreign policy issues, and it was not clear Thursday whether he had yet made a decision.

"We are prepared for the worst-case scenario", Majid Takhi Ravanchi, a senior aide to Rouhani, told Iranian state media, "not only in the political field but even on the economic front".

MARTIN: The deadline for reimposing these sanctions on Iran is tomorrow.