Trump decertifies Iran deal, sends ball to Congress court

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Rouhani: US more isolated than ever

Mogherini: Not in power of ‘any president’ to teminate nuclear deal

 

US President Donald Trump on Friday refused to certify Iran’s compliance to the 2015 nuclear deal in defiance of other world powers, throwing the ball to the Congress court as EU reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to ‘robust’ deal.

Trump made the announcement during a White House speech that detailed a more confrontational approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Reuters reported.

He said that he “cannot and will not make this certification.”

Trump outlined a new “strategy along with several major steps” to confront Iran’s “hostile actions” and to ensure that “Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon”.

While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

That would increase tension with Iran as well as put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

The US president accused Iran of failing to live up to the spirit of the deal and committing “multiple violations.”

Trump added that he has directed his administration to work closely with Congress to address the deal’s “many flaws”.

He threatened that if Congress can’t come up with new legislation, he will terminate the Obama-era pact.

Any decision to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions would automatically kill America’s participation in the deal.

Trump’s move is essentially a compromise that allows him to condemn the accord but stop short of torpedoing it.

 

US more isolated

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hit back at Trump, saying the US is more isolated than ever when it comes to the JCPOA.

In a live speech aired by national TV, Rouhani stressed a multilateral document cannot be terminated by a president.

He said the Iranian nation will not “bow to a dictator” and that the US cannot bring Iran to its knees.

Rouhani noted that Trump cannot add clauses to the JCPOA with the help of Congress.

Earlier, Rouhani talked to his French counterpart Emanuel Macron on phone. He said that the nuclear deal is non-negotiable, while Macron noted that France and the EU support the JCPOA.

 

EU slams Trump’s decision

After Trump’s speech, EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insisted the deal was “robust” and that there had been “no violations of any of the commitments in the agreement”.

She said it was not in the power of “any president in the world” to terminate the agreement, which had been established by a UN Security Council resolution.

“We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working,” said Mogherini, who chaired the final stages of the landmark talks.

“This deal is not a bilateral agreement … The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will, continue to be in place,” Mogherini told reporters.

Mogherini said she spoke to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson immediately after Trump’s speech.

Trump had been under pressure at home and abroad not to scrap the seven-country deal.

Meanwhile, diplomats said Friday there was strong consensus in EU not to be swayed by Donald Trump.

Four diplomats told POLITICO on Friday ahead of Trump’s much-anticipated remarks that EU leaders were strongly committed to the Iran nuclear accord regardless of US President Donald Trump’s view.

The diplomats said the EU’s position was that there would be no renegotiating of the Iran nuclear accord, which was struck in 2015 between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 (also known as the E3+3): the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.

“Our message is that we remain attached to the JCPOA,” a senior European diplomat said, referring to the accord, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Our feeling is that there will not be any other agreement.”

Iranian officials have long said they would not be willing to renegotiate the deal, in which they agreed to abandon their nuclear weapons program and submit to more rigorous international monitoring in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

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