Iranian official: We won't accept changes to nuclear deal

Joseph Votel

Joseph VotelReuters

European states are considering imposing new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and involvement in Syria. In fact, Trump had already set a deadline of May 12 to have new worldwide arrangements in place to deal with Iranian rogue behaviour in terms of nuclear and missile proliferation, regional aggression, terrorism and other problems. "What is important for the Islamic Republic is America's policy in global affairs and their interaction with us and we will adopt our own positions".

Trump delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories on January 12, saying they must agree to "fix the awful flaws of the Iran nuclear deal" or he would refuse to extend USA sanctions relief on Iran.

Other parties to the nuclear agreement, namely Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France, have all criticized Trump's views on the deal, saying the agreement is sound and has proven to be functioning.

Vice President Mike Pence signaled the Trump administration was done with the Iran deal last month in a speech at a conservative political action conference. The deal, which was negotiated during the Obama administration, limits Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.

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Based on his past tough statements on North Korea, China and Iran, many analysts say Pompeo, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, will likely rely more on U.S. military strength, and be less supportive of worldwide agreements than Tillerson. The document says that the signatories of the agreement are legally "entitled to adopt additional sanctions against Iran" as long as these new measures are not nuclear-related or are not similar to the restrictions which were previously lifted under the JPCOA. "This country is not very dependable".

However Senator Bob Corker told CBS's "Face The Nation" on Sunday that he thinks Europe will fail to clinch a new arrangement with Iran and that Trump will finally withdraw the U.S. from the deal.

At the time Trump issued that deadline, his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, promptly launched negotiations with the E3 in hopes of finding a way forward.

Trump said: "When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was awful, he thought it was OK". But Trump believes the nuclear deal and the sanctions relief that came with it have empowered Tehran in other policy spheres.

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"But the Iranians have on multiple occasions been capable of presenting a continued threat through covert efforts to develop their nuclear program along multiple dimensions, right?" Getting the sanctions imposed would require unanimous European Union approval. "And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately".

On Monday, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said it could resume its production of highly enriched uranium, which it shelved under the deal, within two days.

The differences are even more stark on the sunset provisions, which are codified in the nuclear deal and which the Europeans and Iran regard as inviolable, according to the diplomats.

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