Iran warns to reactivate nuclear program upon further United States sanctions

12 January, 2018, 13:42 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at a cabinet meeting in Tehra

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom and the EU's foreign policy chief reiterated strong support for the Iran nuclear deal after a meeting Thursday with the Iranian foreign minister.

Europe and Iran put on a united front over the 2015 accord on freezing the country's nuclear programme on Thursday, warning the USA against a decision to supper the deal.

On the eve of a deadline for the USA president to decide whether to reimpose oil sanctions lifted under the deal, the foreign ministers of the three European powers and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made their plea after their meeting in Brussels.

"I don't think anybody has so far produced a better alternative" to the nuclear deal, the U.K.'s Johnson said, asking those "who oppose" the agreement "to come up with that better solution, because we haven't seen it so far".

Donald Trump's decision a year ago not to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal puts America at odds with the other signatories.

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While Mr Trump appeared poised to offer the deal something of a lifeline, the USA administration is also ready to impose a host of new sanctions against Iran and its proxies.

Mogherini and the foreign ministers also held their ground in responding cautiously to recent deadly street protests in Iran, refraining from criticism of the Tehran government and showing no concern about accusations by Trump and others that Europe has been too soft on the Islamic Republic.

Trump has gnashed his teeth at having to waive the sanctions again, believing his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama, negotiated a bad deal for the United States in agreeing to the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The president is a fierce critic of the accord and refused to certify Iran's compliance with the deal at the last deadline in October.

He also wants to give the International Atomic Energy Agency access to Iranian military sites, and for the deal to cover Iran's ballistic missile programme. "With relief on sanctions from U.S. and EU, Iran is biding its time, reaping the benefits from the deal and accruing assets until it is free to resume its prolific activities". JCPOA is the official name for the deal.

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It's not clear whether Congress will live up to the administration's hope for new legislation authorizing more the more targeted sanctions or other changes to the USA commitments under the deal.

Mogherini, who played an important role in crafting the nuclear accord, has vowed to preserve the deal and has lobbied U.S. lawmakers in Washington.

Her comments came after Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Andrew Peek - a key Trump administration appointee at Foggy Bottom - told Voice of America that USA officials are "examining actions we can take against those individuals, like sanctions and other means".

Trump will have a series of decisions to make on the deal in the days following the first waiver deadline on Friday.

"We know that it's absolutely necessary to have the signal that it's possible by diplomatic approaches to prevent the development of nuclear weapons, in a time when other parts of the world are discussing how to get nuclear weapons into force", said the German foreign minister, adding that it would send "a very risky signal to the rest of the world" if the only agreement that prevents the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be negatively affected.

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Britain's foreign secretary says alongside the pact, Tehran must be pressed on other issues.