16 Oct 2017
United States President Donald Trump has refused to continue signing off an international major nuclear deal with Iran, saying it has not abided with terms of the agreement and continues to support terrorism.
Trump also imposed new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which he described as the Iranian Supreme Leader’s ‘corrupt personal terror force and militia.’
In a speech on Friday, Trump said Iran has “committed multiple violations” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, such as exceeding a key restriction on two occasions and intimidating international inspectors.
“As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” he said.
In the US, the deal is required to be certified every 90 days. Congress will now decide if the US should pull out of the deal.
However Trump indicated that, as president, he could still directly terminate the deal in the event that a workable solution could not be reached with Congress and allies.
The 2015 JCPOA deal – which imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for easing sanctions – was signed by Iran, the UK, US, Russia, France, Germany and China.
In reaction to Trump’s announcement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly questioned whether the US leader could annual a multilateral international treaty on his own, “Apparently he doesn’t know that this agreement is not a bilateral agreement solely between Iran and the United States.”
The EU said it would stand by the agreement, with Vice-President Federica Mogherini saying JCPOA is not a bilateral agreement, “it does not belong to any single country and it is not up to any single country to terminate it.”
She added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on eight occasions verified that Iran is implementing all its nuclear-related commitments.
In a joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany and the UK expressed ‘concern’ at the possible implications of Trump’s decision not to recertify and pointed to IAEA’s confirmation of Iran’s compliance with JCPOA.
Preserving JCPOA is in the shared national security interest, they stated, adding that they are ready to engage with the US over the matter.
They also expressed ‘concern’ about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities that affect European security interests.
The US Treasury on Friday outlined its Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) designation of the IRGC for supporting its sub-division, the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which it said has aided a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah, Hamas and the Taliban.
“The IRGC used both IRGC bases and civilian airports in Iran to transfer military equipment to Iraq and Syria for the IRGC-QF,” it added.
OFAC also designated four entities under an executive order for their support to the IRGC or Iran’s military.
These include Shahid Alamolhoda Industries, China-based Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Co. LTD, Rastafann Ertebat Engineering Company and its parent Fanamoj.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said: “We are designating the IRGC for providing support to the IRGC-QF, the key Iranian entity enabling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s relentless campaign of brutal violence against his own people … we urge the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy, and those who transact with IRGC-controlled companies do so at great risk.”
– By Irene Madongo
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