Iran’s Foreign Minister Challenges Trump Over Renegotiating Nuclear Deal

Iran’s Foreign Minister Challenges Trump Over Renegotiating Nuclear Deal

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, took on U.S President Donald Trump over the claims that renegotiating the controversial nuclear deal is not an option.

Via a statement pushed by the pseudo-governmental propaganda outfit, the Tehran Times, Zarif took told Trump that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official title of the Iran nuclear deal; JCPOA) “is not renegotiable.”

“Trump’s policy & today’s announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement,” Zarif tweeted, alluding to Trump’s declaration that the JCPOA will not be canceled for 120 days. During this timeframe, President Trump demanded that European Union signors and the other four members of the United Nations Security Council’s Permanent 5 (P5) agree to overhaul the current agreement.

“JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance -just like Iran,” Zarif’s tweet concluded.

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PC: Screenshot of CNN/Turning Point News

Trump’s requested overhaul focuses on preventing the nuclear deal form giving the Iranian government power to escalate its nuclear program in the coming decade, ABC News (Australia) online reports. For Trump, Iran must give way to “immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors,” and can’t possess a nuclear weapon. Such a provision in the deal brokered by the Obama Administration allows for this component to expire in a few years time.

Sanctions for human rights violations, missile development

Trump’s move to give deal signors 120 days to overhaul the deal in favor of his demands and foreign policy goals comes as he was about to render the agreement null and void because of a round of sanctions. The sanctions were targeted at the Iranian government’s central bank and a network of state-owned enterprises and other entities that contribute to the country’s missile weapon’s development program.

In particular, Iran was about to be blasted with Treasury Department sanctions, according to our prior coverage, for a rap sheet of alleged human rights violations.

RELATED: Treasury Sanctions Iran: Lawmakers Want Legislation 

“The United States will not stand by while the Iranian regime continues to engage in human rights abuses and injustice,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are targeting the Iranian regime, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, for its appalling mistreatment of its citizens, including those imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and for censoring its own people as they stand up in protest against their government. We are also targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities, which it continues to prioritize over the economic well-being of the Iranian people.”

Not to mention, the sanctions were clear examples to how the Trump Administration views a nuclear Iran as a direct threat to American national security.

Nevertheless, international observers and monitors for the United Nations have–in a total of nine reports through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)–revealed that Tehran has been complying with the provision of the deal.

The author’s view: If it works, why end it?

It should be noted that JCPOA is working, as it appears. Even though there is a significant anti-Islamic Republic of Iran sentiment in our country–amidst the anti-Islam sentiments, the nuclear deal is one of our most effective diplomatic tools that was worth a damn from the Obama era (and there weren’t too many of those).

“So far, eight times, the IAEA has released reports that state that Iran has met its commitments fully,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran in a statement from October of last year. The ninth report was published before 2018; however, why trust the words of an Iranian?

I do in this case because he isn’t lying.

“Since January 2016, the IAEA has been monitoring and verifying the nuclear-related commitments made by Iran under the JCPOA. The IAEA believes that the JCPOA is a significant gain for verification. The IAEA can state that the nuclear-related commitments made by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General, added in an October meet up of dignitaries.

Amano’s words carry more weight in the grander scheme of this entire debate. However, that’s just my view–consider what others are saying.

What others are saying: The Iran deal is working or not working–no in between

Timothy Stafford of the London-based Henry Jackson Society, for The National Interest, believes that the deal isn’t doing enough by arguing that compliance isn’t all we need.

“The net result is an Iran that grows stronger and more confident by the day, but which shows no signs of turning away from nuclearization,” Stafford writes. “Why else move to defend enrichment facilities with missile defenses?”

He concludes: “Tearing up the JCPOA offers no solution to any of these problems, and the administration should think cautiously before acting. Yet as it completes its review, it should proceed from the premise that the JCPOA hasn’t set in motion the trends needed to prevent Iran’s long-term nuclear-armed trajectory.”

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PC: Wikimedia Commons

For CNN‘s online opinion section, David A. Andelman, visiting scholar at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, believes that the current posturing of the Trump White House to end or change the JCPOA will have long-term damages.

“Any decision by him to “decertify” Iran’s compliance, will have only a cataclysmic impact on the key issues he has cited for ending the pact and snapping back a range of tough sanctions that would accompany any such action,” Andelman writes. “The President would not be helping American or Western security. He certainly would not be helping hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who have taken to the streets across Iran.”

However, the real process of determining success or failure in the final “fight” for the Iran deal’s survival rests on Trump’s demands, Europe’s actions, and Iran’s ambitions.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the deal is working or should it be ended? Tell us what you think should be done in the comments section below!