Iran Demands Guarantees From Europe To Stay In Deal
جيرازلم بوست: إيران تطلب بضمانات أوروبية لعدم الخروج من الإتفاق النووي
Jerusalem Post/May 09/18
French Foreign Miniser Jean-Yves Le Drian said he believed that there was a real risk of war unless the deal was salvaged.
ran threatened to nix its nuclear deal unless the three European signatories to the nuclear deal — France, Germany and the United Kingdom — offer Tehran strong incentives.
“We do not trust the three European countries, like we don’t trust the US; without receiving a strong guarantee from these three European countries, we won’t stick to the nuclear agreement [the JCPOA],” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday in Tehran.An English version of the speech he gave in the aftermath of the US decision to nix the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran was posted on his web site.
The E3 countries have been hopefully they can sway Iran to remain in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action under which Tehran agreed to curb is nuclear program in exchange for an agreement from the six world powers that they would lift their economic sanctions.
Russia and China are also signatories to the deal and, like the E3, have no interest in ending it. French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in a telephone call on Wednesday to respect the deal.
“The French president and the Iranian president agreed to continue their joint work with all concerned states in order to keep implementing the nuclear deal and preserve regional stability,” Macron’s office said in a statement.
Macron assured Rouhani of France’s desire to keep the nuclear accord alive and pressed Tehran to do the same. French Foreign Miniser Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio that high level talks would take place between the E3 countries and Iran.
“We will meet the Iranians next week with my German and British colleagues,” Drian told RTL radio, adding that the meeting would likely take place on Monday or Tuesday. “It’s not a European summit, it’s a meeting between ministers,” he said.
Meetings would also be held with the likes of oil giant Total and others with major business and economic stakes in the region, he added.
“The deal isn’t dead. Sorry, I say this again, the deal is here, the deal not only isn’t dead but it was unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, the deal is not dead, it needs to continue.”
“The United States are withdrawing but the deal exists, let’s be clear about this,” Le Drian said.
“I hope [the US withdrawal] not a setback for peace, in any case [French President] Emmanuel Macron offered [US] President [Donald] Trump a political initiative which is still on the table and which he didn’t reject in last night’s comments. “We have to see now if, beyond the agreement, we can gather the actors around the table to allow for a perspective of stability in the region, which now risks being in a situation of confrontation soon if nothing is done.”
Le Drian said he believed that there was a real risk of war unless the deal was salvaged. “There is a real risk of confrontation that is why it is preferable that the Iranians show restraint, that they take the time to assess what is happening, that they take time to speak with the Europeans, that we take the time to speak with all those involved,” he said.
Le Drian said France, like others, was well aware that there were concerns about issues beyond Iran’s nuclear capability, namely its ballistic weapons program, but said they could be addressed without ditching the nuclear deal.
Russian and German foreign ministers were also due to meet in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said.
“Our aim is clear: We keep committed to the nuclear deal. For our own security concerns alone. And therefore, we will work for this treaty to have a future. It is the successful result of a long-term difficult diplomatic negotiations. And most of all: the deal is working,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
“It cannot be in the interest of Iran to jeopardize the path that we have chosen with that deal and the chances that have occurred to Iran because of it. And that is why we call on Iran to keep on acting responsibly and stick to the commitments under the deal,” Maas said.
“We will hold talks with all sides. And we will speak with one voice together with France and Great Britain,” Maas said.
In addition, he said, “We will look at the implications for European companies and how the Europeans can respond together,” Maas said.
“It is totally unclear what the US envisages as an alternative to the deal that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons while being able to verify compliance,” Maas added.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the world should hold US President Donald Trump to his stated aim of finding a new solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Johnson, speaking to the British parliament, said it was now up to the United States to come forward with concrete proposals on Iran.
Trump’s new ambassador to Germany said German businesses should halt their activities in Iran immediately.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the United States should not consider itself the world’s “economic policeman.”
European companies including carmaker PSA, plane manufacturer Airbus and engineering group Siemens said they were keeping a close eye on the situation.
Trump announced on Tuesday he would reimpose US economic sanctions on Iran to undermine what he called “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”
The 2015 agreement was the fruit of more than a decade of diplomacy, the pact was designed to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb.
Trump complained that the deal, the signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 or its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
His decision raises the risk of deepening conflicts in the Middle East, puts the United States at odds with European diplomatic and business interests, and casts uncertainty over global oil supplies. Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Wednesday, with Brent hitting a 3-1/2-year high.
Is the Iranian nuclear deal alive, wounded or dead?
جيرازلم بوست: هل تم قتل الإتفاق النووي الإيراني أم أنه أصيب بجروح فقط
Yonah Jeremy Bob/Jerusalem Post/May 09/18
The US nuclear sanctions as currently structured do not kick in for 90 days. That gives time to negotiate and salvage the situation.
As with many actions by President Donald Trump, the full answer will not be clear until some time passes. But overall the deal is a lot closer to being dead than either alive or wounded.
What about Trump’s speech puts the deal on its deathbed, what leaves an opening for it to survive, and how did we get here?
The narrative kept shifting recently.
Weeks before Donald Trump’s Iran nuclear deal “fix it or nix it” deadline, observers started to predict that he would force the Europeans into negotiating a side agreement that fixed the deal’s holes other than the “sunset clauses.”
The sunset clause issue was the concern that Iran’s nuclear program would have no limits once the deal expired.
If a separate agreement could be signed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its terrorism in the Middle East and the limits on IAEA inspectors’ ability to inspect military sites for traces of nuclear weapons, then maybe the sunset issue could be worked out later.
Days before Trump’s speech the narrative had shifted to that he would formally withdraw from the deal, but quietly look the other way on enforcing sanctions.
This was and is the heart of his speech.
All of the innuendo about being “in” or “out” of the deal matters, but the real question always was whether the US would enforce secondary sanctions against its EU allies and other countries if they do business with Iran.
Had Trump announced the US was exiting the deal, but left the sanctions issue vague and looked the other way while the EU and others did business with Iran, the deal could have been declared wounded, but not dead.
But that was not enough for the US president.
His strategy is clearly not to put band-aids on the deal’s holes and ask Iran nicely through the EU to agree to some fixes.
And observers who say that he was only interested in keeping a domestic campaign promise missed some of the spirit of his speech and whom Trump has hired recently onto his national security team.
The Jerusalem Post has interviewed Trump’s new National Security Adviser John Bolton multiple times.
Bolton is pro Iran-regime change and pro using brute military-diplomatic threats and brinkmanship to achieve desired policy goals.
Trump and Bolton want to stand over Iran threateningly and demand it agree to a new deal with all of the changes they want.
Why then should the deal be described as on its deathbed, but not totally dead?
Trump did not mention the 90 days, but the way the sanctions work and as leaked right before his speech, the US nuclear sanctions as currently structured do not kick in for 90 days.
His mention of still wanting to cut a deal with North Korea also was a sign that he is willing to cut deals with a regime he has threatened, even if only on his terms.
That gives time to negotiate and salvage the situation.
At this point, whether that something is called a modified old deal or a new deal is less important than whether the US and Iran are on course toward some kind of détente or whether they are on course toward a conflict.
Critics of Trump have said that his leaving the deal will inevitably lead to war.
That is not true. Ninety days have to pass, Iran has to feel the heat enough to withdraw from the 2015 agreement, and it has to decide to dare the US by restarting to highly enrich uranium (as opposed to for example just start failing to cooperate on some smaller issue) before war is really in the air.
But by formally exiting the deal and signing sanctions to kick in in 90 days (another option was 180 days), Trump is signaling he is more comfortable with that living-on-the-edge scenario achieving his goals of Iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons and restraining its support for terrorism, than he is with another half-year of negotiations to only achieve some of his aims.
Whether the deal, or a new version, makes a late comeback or dies on the deathbed, is now mostly up to Iran and the EU.
Both Iran and the EU talked tough until recent weeks. The EU threatened to counter-sanction and sue the US in international forums. Iran threatened to pull out if the US committed even a minor violation of the 2015 agreement.
But in the last couple of days, both Tehran and Brussels have said they will keep the deal even if the US pulls out. That suggests Trump may have read their positions correctly and that they might respond to pressure. Still, Iran has never wavered from saying it will not amend the deal.
Within 90 days, we will likely know whether Trump’s gamble is starting to pay off or whether the deal will have been killed with no plan B to block Iran from rushing to a bomb, other than a military strike