As usual, President Trump fails to disappoint. Instead of dousing the uncertainties surrounding the U.S. commitment to the JCPOA, President Trump has only fanned uncertainties. Although he stopped short of killing the JCPOA, President Trump gave European allies only 120 days to agree to an overhaul of the nuclear deal or he would pull the U.S. out of it.
However, this hasn’t stopped the U.S. from imposing further ballistic missile sanctions and punitive sanctions following the crack-down on the most recent demonstrations.
This is the third time President Trump has given a reprieve to the agreement brokered by former President Barack Obama, despite having labeled it “the worst deal ever.” In effect, President Trump has set a four month deadline, as the next mandated re-certification of the JCPOA under U.S. law, is 12 May 2018.
In his statement, President Trump expounds four critical conditions for the continued U.S. participation in the JCPOA:
- Iran allow immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors.
- The JCPOA must ensure that Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon.
- The nuclear deal, must have no expiration date. President Trump’ policy is to deny Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon—not just for ten years, but forever. If Iran does not comply with any of these provisions, American nuclear sanctions would automatically resume.
- The legislation must explicitly state in United States law—for the first time—that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions.
In effect, President Trump is seeking a common position with U.S. allies to implement the above-listed conditions. However, he only wishes to achieve the changes with the European JCPOA signatories, but not with Russia and China.
In this context, the European JCPOA signatories have urged the U.S. not to leave the JCPOA, as they remain committed to the nuclear deal. However, they have indicated that they are ready to discuss measures to curb Iranian missile development and possible follow on negotiations. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has spoken of supplementing the nuclear deal.
The EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said the deal had in reality “made the world safer and prevented a potential nuclear arms race in the region.” Ms. Mogherini also confirmed the current position of the EU, namely that “Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, or its overall policy of interference across the Middle East, were separate from the nuclear deal.”
Despite this statement, it’s reported that both France and the UK, partially adhering to President Trump’s conditions, support the idea that Iran needs to sign fresh agreements over both issues.
To be continued…