Iran warns USA against withdrawing from n

19 March, 2018, 00:38 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Joseph Votel

Mohammad Javad Zarif's warning comes after the US President threatened to unilaterally pull out of the deal, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if it is not revised. So we were not really thinking the same.

With Rex Tillerson's abrupt firing as US secretary of state Tuesday, the focus is now on President Donald Trump's choice to take his place, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and what this change would mean for USA foreign policy.

Tillerson earned Trump's ire by disagreeing with him on many substantive policy matters, including the president's decisions to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cozy up to Russian Federation.

Trump is still threatening to scrap the nuclear deal unless tough new restrictions are placed on Iran before May 12, when he must certify to Congress that Iran is in good standing under the current version of the deal. In his January 2018 State of the Union address, he was more direct, calling on lawmakers to "address the fundamental flaws in the awful Iran nuclear deal".

It was strident in its criticism of Iran's ballistic weapons, which Tehran says are for defensive purposes, saying there were "transfers of Iranian missiles and missile technology" to Syria and allies of Tehran, such as Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon's Iran-backed Shiah Hezbollah. But other sanctions for things like human rights violations are still in place. In January, he said he was giving the deal a "final chance".

As a congressman, Pompeo opposed the Obama-era Iran agreement as "unconscionable", and he said after Trump's election that he was looking forward to "rolling it back".

Iranian leaders have repeatedly ruled out re-opening negotiations, saying all sides should stick to the 2015 deal. He also wants new terms added onto the deal unilaterally: for some of its key provisions to be extended through U.S. mandate and for the West to demand greater access to Iran's military sites that once hosted nuclear weapons experimentation.

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Congressional aides who've worked with him say that Pompeo is a smart guy, level-headed and reasonable.

His stance and position with Trump could give Pompeo leverage with the Europeans that Tillerson never enjoyed.

Trump has said that if the deal between Iran and six big powers, which curtailed Iran´s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, is not "improved" by then, he will withdraw.

"We all have concerns about missiles, regional instability, support for terrorism, and the malicious activities of Iran", a European diplomat said, adding: "We are ready to take steps to address to those concerns", he said.

The US's focus turned to medium-range missiles after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Trump in Washington earlier this month.

It might also encourage other countries, namely the UK, France, and Germany, to pull out of the deal as well. Iran maintains that it must have medium-range missiles to defend itself, an argument the Europeans have been sympathetic to.

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