Iran: 'All Options on the Table' if Trump Quits Nuclear Deal

Glen Norman
January 14, 2018

While the US lobbies the allies that also signed the nuclear deal to support changes to the agreement, European diplomats are to meet Thursday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The Iran deal - officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - was agreed in 2015 between Iran and various world powers, including the US, China, Russia and the EU.

At the October 2017 deadline, Trump charged that Iran was not living up to the "spirit" of the agreement and asked Congress to unilaterally impose "trigger points" on the deal that would impose nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran should it overstep certain bounds. His decision is also further complicated by recent mass anti-government protests in Iran, made up mostly of youths complaining of economic hardship. After talks in Moscow on Wednesday Zarif tweeted a warning. The protests that erupted in Iran were due to an economic crisis, but morphed into something more fundamental.

On Monday, Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi warned that "the global community must be prepared for the United States possibly pulling out of the JCPOA", he said.

Johnson raised her plight on a visit to Tehran before Christmas, but no further progress was reported, and it is likely that the recent Iran-wide street protects - which hardliners blame on foreign including United Kingdom interference - may not have helped her chances of early release.

"It is important that we are properly prepared for any circumstances in such a way that if higher management will take a decision on nuclear activity, in particular, the acceleration of [uranium enrichment], we will be ready", Kamalvandi told the IRIB news agency.

The head of foreign policy in Brussels highlighted that the International Atomic Energy Agency, an independent body that answers to the USA, has published nine reports confirming that Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement.

French officials have said they will consider sanctions if Iran pushes ahead with its missile programme.

Some analysts are quick to note that the Iran deal as it is written does not preclude the United States or other world powers from exacting new sanctions against Iranian officials or entities - as long as the new sanctions are not tied to the nuclear dispute.

Aaron David Miller, a former US State Department adviser, said Trump had talked tough against Iran but was actually "risk averse" when dealing with the regime and would likely take the safer course over waiving sanctions relief.

The administration has not revealed its intentions, but the Iran unrest is seen as a possible pretext for blowing up the nuclear accord.

"We should separate two things from each other: we want to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran. and the hard role Iran has in the region", Sigmar Gabriel said.

What does Mr Trump want to change?

Some argue the European Union proponents of the agreement are hypocritically undermining their own defense of the Tehran government when they defend the nuclear deal but criticize the regime for the "unacceptable loss of human life" and denial of "fundamental rights".

And at a security conference in Tehran, the defence minister addressed a large crowd foreign dignitaries as well as allies in the region, saying American leaders are orchestrating artificial conflicts in the Middle East to create perpetual war as a way to sell weapons.

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