‘Iran nuclear deal under threat after new US sanctions’

‘Iran nuclear deal under threat after new US sanctions’
The Trump administration forfeited its policy on Iran under pressure from neocons in Washington DC, who unfortunately want to torpedo the nuclear deal with Tehran, says Kaveh Afrasiabi, former adviser to Iran's nuclear negotiation team.

Iran has become a target of Washington's recent sanctions. The country's officials have already claimed the move breaks the terms of its current nuclear deal with the US and other world powers.

RT:  We've heard the strong response from the Iranian side. Is the nuclear deal really under threat now?

Kaveh Afrasiabi: Absolutely. And we have seen a string of anti-nuclear deal initiatives by the US. These latest sanctions being the prime example that threatens the world being under longevity of the nuclear agreement, which is a Net-Plus for Nonproliferation and a common good for the international community. Unfortunately, despite the fact the Trump administration has repeatedly certified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement, it continues to take these counterproductive steps that threaten the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and elicit an Iranian response, as we have seen by the Iranian Parliament sanctioning some American entities, and Iran for a fifth time complaining to the JCPOA joint commission.

RT:  Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the Europeans would not allow Trump to destroy the nuclear deal. Do you think there is anything in that?

KA: Absolutely, because the Europeans are reaping the economic benefits of the JCPOA by signing multibillion dollar deals, and we’ve seen that with France, Italy and a number of other countries in comparison to the US that has self-sanctioned its own companies by disallowing them to take the benefits of this nuclear breakthrough. So the Europeans will stand up to Trump. They have not followed the administration’s footsteps on the sanctions on Iran’s missile program, which is a really conventional issue and part of Iran’s conventional deterrent capability, not nuclear. It is not in violation of the UN resolution, or the accord itself per the consensus of the international legal community. So the Europeans are hesitant to follow Trump’s lead on this. We have seen a lot of voices of discontent recently.

Seyyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, political analyst: “Mr. Trump seems to be very much willing to discard the deal, but there is a wide belief here (in Iran) that he doesn’t mean really to withdraw from the nuclear deal…Plan B could pressuring Teheran to give more concessions to the US, and it’s based on a miscalculation because the Trump administration believes Iran would do its best to keep the nuclear deal alive under any circumstances. …Iran would not grant more and more concessions just to keep the nuclear deal alive.”

RT:  Trump earlier called the Iran nuclear deal "the worst ever." Do you think that he can come up with a better one?

KA: I doubt it. We heard from Secretary of State Tillerson just the other day that he has disagreements with the White House on the Iran nuclear agreement. My hunch is that Mr. Tillerson is more in favor of this deal and is sticking with it compared to some hardliners operating against it within the White House - some other neocons in the US Congress, etc. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has pretty much forfeited its Iran policy to the hands of these hardliners in the US Congress, who want to torpedo it. Fishing for evidence to fine Iran for noncompliance with the nuclear agreement will not be easy, and Iran has also resorted to the UN Atomic Agency, which was put in charge of monitoring Iran’s compliance with this to offset any attempt by the Trump administration to undermine the deal.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.