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GCC BACKS MOVE, EU CRIES FOUL

Trump threatens to cancel landmark Iran nuclear deal

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2017

US President Donald Trump has threatened to terminate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if Congress and US allies fail to amend the agreement in significant ways.
 
In a vituperative speech on Friday that began by listing Iran’s alleged crimes over the decades, Trump announced he would not continue to certify the agreement to Congress, but stopped short of immediately cancelling US participation in the deal, reported The Guardian.
 
“Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said at the White House.
 
Trump put the onus on Congress and US allies to agree to means to toughen the conditions on Iran – and to make restriction on the country’s nuclear programme permanent. 
 
He made clear that if those negotiations fail to reach a solution – which is almost certain – he would unilaterally pull the US out of the international agreement, a move likely to lead to a return to nuclear confrontation in the Middle East, stated The Guardian.
 
“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be cancelled by me, as president, at any time,” he added.
 
The president also announced he had ordered the US Treasury to impose new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a backer of terrorist groups in the region, although the state department did not designate the IRGC as a terrorist group itself.
 
The international backlash to Trump’s speech was immediate. The leaders of the UK, France and Germany – also signatories of the nuclear deal – issued a statement vowing their commitment to the agreement.
 
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, insisted that the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was working, and that no single country or leader could terminate it.
 
“The president of the United States has many powers, but not this one,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.
 
Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, issued a statement restating the agency’s finding that Iran was abiding by its obligations.
 
Within minutes of Trump’s speech, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, went live on state television.
 
He said: “What we heard tonight was a repeat of the same baseless accusations and insults that we’ve heard over the past 40 years. It had nothing new; we weren’t surprised because for 40 years we’ve got used to these words. With your baseless speech you made our people more united.”
 
Rouhani went on: “Today, the US is more isolated than ever against the nuclear deal, [more] isolated than any other time in its plots against people of Iran.”
 
However Trump's bold decision won a lot of backing from the region.
 
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he wanted to “congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today” and for “boldly confront[ing] Iran’s terrorist regime”.
 
Netanyahu, who has always opposed the agreement with Iran, said Trump’s announcement created “an opportunity to fix this bad deal” and was a sign of his steely determination.
 
GCC countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE have welcomed what it called a “new US strategy” toward Iran. 
 
Saudi Arabia lauded Trump's aggressive approach while praising his vision in this and commitment to work with the allies of the US in the region, to face their common challenges, particularly Iran's aggressive policies and actions.
 
According to the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia has previously supported the nuclear agreement between Iran and the "5 + 1" powers, in the belief that it is necessary to limit the regional and international proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, its statement stressed, adding that it had hoped that the agreement would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, to achieve security and peace in the region.
 
However, Iran had exploited the economic benefits of the lifting of the sanctions and used them to continue destabilising the region, especially through its ballistic missile development programme and its support for terrorism, including Hezbollah and the Houthi militias in Yemen, stated the SPA report. 
 
Iran has not only flagrantly violated the resolution, but also transferred the benefits and its experience to its client militias, including the Houthi militias, which used the missiles to target Saudi Arabia, hence exposing the falsity of its claims that the development of these capabilities is only for defensive purposes, it added.



Tags: Saudi | Iran | US | GCC | Trump | nuclear deal |

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