Published: Sat, March 17, 2018

Tillerson's Exit Could Doom the Iran Nuclear Deal

Tillerson's Exit Could Doom the Iran Nuclear Deal

The Iranian diplomatic team visiting Vienna for regular talks on the implementation of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) has said diplomats from Iran and the US were likely to hold mutual talks on Friday on the global nuclear agreement, an source close to the Iranian diplomatic team said on Friday.

The United States and three European allies have had "very good" talks on President Donald Trump's demand that their nuclear deal with Iran be improved by a May 12 deadline, a USA envoy said on Friday. "Right now, I think it is in our interest" to stay in the deal, Votel said. Since the 2015 nuclear deal that reintroduced Iran to global oil markets, this is only the second worldwide development deal that has reached fruition. "One of the worst deals I've ever seen, was the Iran deal". He wanted the deal to be stricter on Iran's nuclear programme and also address non-nuclear issues, like Iran's ballistic missiles, support for terrorism, and regional aggression.

To strike a balance, diplomats from the U.K., Germany and France drafted plans for new sanctions against Iran focused on its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Despite Trump's abrupt firing of Tillerson, the outgoing secretary of state's top aide, Brian Hook, will attend the meetings in Europe, a State Department spokesperson said.

A State Department cable obtained by Reuters last month, however, outlined a path under which the three key European allies would simply commit to try to improve the deal over time in return for Trump keeping the pact alive by renewing USA sanctions relief in May.

The meeting comes ahead of a May 12 deadline for US President Donald Trump to extended waivers of economic sanctions on Iran. Nevertheless, unless there is a recovery in the country's economic and investment prospects, Iran's commitment to the deal could gradually erode following a United States withdrawal, resulting in its eventual collapse.

Despite Trump's strong opposition to the deal, Tillerson, Mattis and other members of his administration have defended it, arguing that the United States is better off with it than without it.

If Trump opts to reimpose US sanctions on Iran after May 12, European Union officials have warned that Brussels might try to block the American measures and protect European companies investing in the Iranian market. A consortium of Russian and Iranian companies signed an agreement with Tehran to develop two oilfields located on the country's border with Iraq this week, Iran's second deal since the nuclear pact.

How would the U.S. withdrawal combat Iran? Iran "cannot remain in a deal in which there is no benefit for us", he said.

The head of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees American forces in the Middle East, warned lawmakers on Tuesday about the consequences of the agreement unraveling. "So, if [it] goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program", he said.

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