By Hanif Ghafari

The Trump Nuclear Confusion!

September 16, 2017

The president of the United States is still on the path of confrontation with a nuclear deal with Iran. Donald Trump intends to negotiate with the leaders of the European countries about a renewed nuclear deal. On the other hand, he intends to make the necessary arrangements to exit from JCPOA.

 The main obstacle to the trump in this regard is the lack of support for the international community with his decision. Even within the United States and in the Trump foreign policy team, some people oppose his approach against nuclear deal. One of the most important of these is Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state for the Trump government.

Now Nikky Haley has taken on the main responsibility for confronting Iran over the cause. This is while the task is intrinsic to the Secretary of State! This suggests that Rex Tillerson is also opposed to the irrational approach of Trump.

However, Trump's confusion over Iran's nuclear deal continues. He really does not know what to do with the nuclear deal! On the one hand, he is seeking to cancel the nuclear deal with Iran, and on the other hand, he has no strength to resist international sensitivities in this regard. An overview of Trump's recent remarks on a nuclear deal reveals his confusion in this regard.

Donald Trump hinted he may move to derail the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran next month. The United States agreed on Thursday to continue for now to exempt Iran from nuclear-related sanctions but slapped new measures on targets accused of cyber-attacks or destabilising the region. 

 As al-Jazeera has reported the decision to continue to waive the sanctions was expected, but the new sanctions and some tough words from Trump will be seen as a victory for opponents of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump is expected to decide before October 15 whether Iran has breached the nuclear agreement, and critics fear he may abandon an accord they say prevents Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.

The Iran deal, approved by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, was implemented under a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, and enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Under the JCPOA, Iran surrendered much of its enriched uranium, dismantled a reactor, and submitted nuclear sites to UN inspection, while Washington and Europe lifted some sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has lived up to the terms of the nuclear agreement, but Washington and its allies have been angered by Tehran's Missile capability.
"You'll see what I'm going to be doing very shortly in October. The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I've ever seen. Certainly at a minimum the spirit of the deal is atrociously kept. The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this country. It's a deal that should not have ever been made."
In other hand, Obama administration officials who negotiated the deal issued a stark warning that if Trump declares Iran to be in violation of the deal it could collapse. This could alienate the powers that co-signed the accord - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
In contrast, the Islamic Republic of Iran has expressed its opposition to the Trump government's approach to a nuclear deal. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi has criticized the US approach to undermine the spirit and the text of the nuclear deal.
During the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors which has been held on September 11 in Vienna, the implementation of the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was also considered. 

It is part of Najafi's statement: "The JCPOA, as a historic international agreement, ended an unnecessary crisis on 14 July 2015. While endorsing the JCPOA, the UN Security Council affirmed that “conclusion of the JCPOA marks a fundamental shift in its consideration of this issue” and expressed “its desire to build a new relationship with Iran strengthened by the implementation of the JCPOA”. Regrettably, there are recent moves contrary to such commitment.

Like any other deal, the JCPOA relies entirely on reciprocal and full implementation of the measures by all parties in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere, based on mutual respect. For its part, since the Implementation Day, Iran has fulfilled its commitments under the deal and the Agency’s reports on verification and monitoring of JCPOA in Iran provides substantiated evidence to such commitment.

However, after more than 20 months, the implementation of the commitments of other sides to the JCPOA, in particular the United States is yet to be acceptable. Indeed, by limiting Iran’s benefits from   the deal the US Government in contradiction with both letter and spirit of the agreement, particularly paragraphs 26, 28 and 29 of the JCPOA, has taken an unconstructive approach to undermine “successful implementation” of the JCPOA.

 In this context, sending an official to Vienna accompanied by media rhetoric aimed at undermining the credibility of the Agency is another example of bad faith and insincere behavior of that Government."

4 important points in Iran's statement

In the statement by the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, four points have been seriously emphasized. These tips are important.

1. As stated before, the JCPOA text on heavy water reads that all excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices and delivered to the international buyers for 15 years. While we are being contacted by potential buyers, some amount has been shipped out for sale at international market.

2. We would like to stress, once more, that the report should be as concise as possible and avoid mentioning avoidable detailed information, particularly it should not contain confidential Safeguards information.

3. We would also like to reiterate our observation on the definition of “stockpile” and its difference with the term “inventory” and recall that this is a matter for discussion in the Joint Commission.

4. With regard to a reference to Section T in para 27, my delegation would like to put on record our strong reservation on some new arbitrary interpretations including those of US or some EU members contrary to the clear text of different sections of Annex I of  the JCPOA and the history of negotiations on that.

 It’s exclusively the duty of Joint Commission to elaborate it if necessary. I would also like to refer to   few delegations that asked again for disclosure of the raw and detailed confidential safeguards information contrary to the BOG approved mandate. Such request gives the impression that the Agency should not be trusted and its assessment should be reassessed again independently.

 My delegation would like to recall that in addition to the provisions of Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Article V of the Additional Protocol for protection of confidential information, the JCPOA clearly requests the Agency “to take every precaution to protect commercial, technological and industrial secrets as well as other confidential information coming to its knowledge”.

 We strongly oppose the inclusion of confidential safeguard information in any upcoming report under the pretext of more transparency. Before concluding, I should recall the reaffirmation by the Agency that implementation of the Additional Protocol provisions in Iran would be like any other Member States with Additional Protocol.

Alerts sent to Trump

Whenever Trump's attempts to lift the nuclear deal with Iran become more serious, more explicit warnings are sent to him in this regard. In the most recent of these cases, Over 80 prominent international disarmament experts have urged US President Donald Trump to reconsider his possible plans to unravel Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with six world powers, including the U.S.

As New York Times reported, in a statement organized by the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based disarmament advocacy group, experts in nuclear nonproliferation diplomacy from around the world hailed the deal as a “net plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts,” 

The experts warned Trump that “unilateral action by the United States, especially on the basis of unsupported contentions of Iranian cheating, would isolate the United States.”

Some of the signatories to the statement included Nobuyasu Abe, commissioner of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission; Hans Blix, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Thomas E. Shea, a former safeguards official at the International Atomic Energy Agency; and Thomas M. Countryman, a former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation.

Director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association Kelsey Davenport expressed concern that Washington’s possible plans to scrap the Iran deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, will eliminate any possibility of resolving North Korea’s nuclear weapons crisis through negotiation.

“Given that we are already struggling to contain the North Korean nuclear and missile crisis, it would be extremely unwise for the president to initiate steps that could unravel the highly successful 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which would create a second major nonproliferation crisis,” she said.

Trump confusion continues

Trump's attempt to cancel the nuclear deal with Iran continues. However, the president of the United States does not have the power to face the obstacles on this path. In late August, the Trump administration sent U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to Vienna to lobby the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to request access to Iranian military sites as part of the deal, in spite of the fact that the IAEA has confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA in all its reports.

The IAEA, however, once again confirmed that Iran has lived up to its commitments under the landmark nuclear agreement. Trump has also set up a team of his White House confidants to present him with “options” other than certifying Iranian compliance with the deal to Congress.

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