By Saeed Sobhani

U.S. failure in confrontation with Iran

November 29, 2017

TEHRAN _ The silence of the U.S. Congress on a nuclear deal with Iran shows that Washington has been confused about how it faces the deal. This confusion has intensified over the past weeks. However, over the next ten days, it seems that the U.S. Congress has announced its final deal on a nuclear deal. Some analysts believe that Congress intends to put more red lines on it, while maintaining a nuclear deal. This is despite the fact that the nuclear deal with Iran can not be changed fundamentally! This is something that most international actors are focusing on.

In recent days, U.S. Congressmen have been busy with a tense rally over the approval of the Tom Cotton- Corker joint plan in opposition to Iran's nuclear program. The purpose of the plan is to address what the White House described as "shortcomings of the JCPOA". Anyway, making any changes in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action would mean the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran.

An overview of the current status of the IAEA and the US authorities over the nuclear deal is contemplative.

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has led to a significant reduction in Iran's nuclear activities while enabling the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to increase its knowledge of the country's nuclear programme" IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a speech at Harvard University. 

Amano addressed the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs John F Kennedy School of Government on 14 November, at the end of his official visit to the USA. He said the JCPOA had given the Vienna-based agency greater powers of inspection in the country, which is now subject to the world's most robust nuclear verification system.

The JCPOA was signed in July 2015 by Iran and the EU3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA - also referred to as the P5+1 - plus the European Union) and implemented in January 2016. Under its terms, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment activities, eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium over the next 15 years. The agreement cleared the way for the lifting of nuclear-related economic sanctions imposed against Iran.

However, the United States representative at the IAEA Board of Governors has once again shown that Tramp and other US officials have not yet reached a conclusion on how to deal with a nuclear deal with Iran. In part, it is said:

"The United States has conducted a careful review of its policy toward Iran, including with respect to the JCPOA. Following that review, we have made clear that we are continuing to uphold our commitments under the deal, and expect Iran to strictly implement its own. Iran must continue to fully adhere to all aspects of its JCPOA commitments and technical measures for their duration in order to build confidence that its nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful.

 Nothing short of full and transparent implementation will allow the IAEA to assure the international community that Iran is upholding all of its nuclear commitments.
IAEA verification and monitoring of all of Iran’s nuclear commitments is essential to successful implementation of the JCPOA. No commitments under the deal are exempt from IAEA verification. The IAEA will need to continue exercising its authorities, including the expanded authorities provided under the JCPOA, to verify Iran’s declarations and monitor the JCPOA.

We welcome the Director General’s statement that the IAEA continues to evaluate Iran’s declarations under the Additional Protocol, and to conduct complementary access inspections to sites and locations in Iran…."

The fact is that any move by the Trump government and the U.S. Congress to change the nuclear deal would mean the U.S. official withdrawal from the agreement. This is what Trump and Congressional senators are aware of. However, Tramp attempts to use the most existing capabilities to deal with the nuclear deal.

Donald Trump, in various lobbies and negotiations with some congressional senators, European Troika and AIPAC lobbyists, has explicitly sought to change some of the provisions of the nuclear deal with Iran. These cases mainly contain: - The International Atomic Energy Agency could have full access to military sites in Iran, on the pretext of revising Section T of the Annex 1 of the JCPOA.

 The expiry date of certain nuclear restrictions on Iran's nuclear program is to be eliminated, and these are subject to permanent constraints. In this regard, it is necessary to revise and change the section called Sunset.
- The issue of Iran's missile power in the form of an addendum will be attached to the nuclear deal or arranged in such a way that Iran's missile power can be limited in parallel with the JCPOA.
As we can see, making changes in any of these cases will be the same as changing the nuclear deal and turning it into an agreement that has not been accepted by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the past, present and future. Meanwhile, American and European officials, instead of focusing on the nature and content of the issue, have sought to maintain a framework for the nuclear deal and, at the same time, change its content. The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in his most recent statement has emphasized that one of America's worries is the Sunset clauses in JCPOA, and accordingly there may be a need for a second deal!

What is certain is that Trump and other U.S. officials will be losers in dealing with Iran over a nuclear deal. If it accepts a nuclear deal in the same way, then it will be accused of withdrawing from its positions. On the other hand, if Tramp and U.S. senators change the nuclear deal and even make it harder to enforce, they will actually be out of the nuclear deal and will be accused of violating it in the eyes of the world's public opinion. Therefore, Trump and American senators will be defeated in both cases. However, choosing the first option (adherence to the nuclear deal) will cost less to Washington.

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