Iran to Trump: Nuclear Deal is Not Renegotiable

Iran to Trump: Nuclear Deal is Not Renegotiable

Saturday, 13 January, 2018 - 06:30
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Tehran condemned on Friday US President Donald Trump’s decision to waive nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time, saying that the 2015 nuclear agreement reached with world powers was “not renegotiable.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable and that Trump’s stance “amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement.”

Trump had waived the sanctions on Friday to give Washington and its European allies a chance to fix the “terrible flaws” of the deal.

Instead of repeating the same “stale” statements, the US should commit fully to the deal, just like Iran, added Zarif.

Washington also announced sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security at the Iranian parliament, declared that Tehran will not abandon a fraction of its ballistic missile policies.

He also deemed the new sanctions as “illogical” and a violation of the nuclear deal, reported Iran’s ISNA news agency.

In a statement attributed to Trump, the White House said that Iran is the world’s top state-sponsor of terrorism through it support to “Hezbollah”, Hamas and many other terrorists.

It also condemned Iran for backing the head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad “as he massacres his own people.”

Trump’s ultimatum on Friday puts pressure on Europeans - key backers and parties to the 2015 international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program – to satisfy Trump, who wants the pact strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days.

“Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said in a statement. “Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.”

Trump, who has sharply criticized the deal reached during Democrat Barack Obama’s presidency, had privately chafed at having to once again waive sanctions on a country he sees as a rising threat in the Middle East.

The EU said in a statement it had taken note of Trump’s decision and would assess its implications.

Underscoring the difficulty now facing Europeans, a European diplomat, speaking under condition of anonymity, said: “It’s going to be complicated to save the deal after this.”

Trump now will work with European partners on a follow-on agreement that enshrines certain triggers that the Iranian regime cannot exceed related to ballistic missiles, said senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the decision.

One senior administration official said Trump would be open to remaining in a modified deal if it were made permanent.

Trump laid out several conditions to keep the United States in the deal. Iran must allow “immediate inspections at all sites requested by international inspectors,” he said, and “sunset” provisions imposing limits on Iran’s nuclear program must not expire. Trump said US law must tie long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs together, making any missile testing by Iran subject to “severe sanctions.”

The president wants Congress to modify a law that reviews US participation in the nuclear deal to include “trigger points” that, if violated, would lead to the United States reimposing its sanctions, the official said.

This would not entail negotiations with Iran, the official said, but rather would be the result of talks between the United States and its European allies. Work already has begun on this front, the official said.

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