World

Trump Faces Pivotal Decisions on Iran Sanctions

Trump Faces Pivotal Decisions on Iran Sanctions

The announced focus of the meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the foreign ministers of the EU, France, Germany, and Britain came on January 8 after Iran warned that the United States may be on the verge of withdrawing from the agreement.

Retired U.S. military officers, members of Congress and former U.S. ambassadors were among 52 U.S. national security experts who signed a letter released on Monday urging President Donald Trump's administration not to jeopardize the global nuclear deal with Iran.

After meeting his Iranian, French, German and European Union counterparts in Brussels, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insisted the deal was preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

"If Trump decides to reimpose the nuclear-related sanctions waived under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he will be creating a nonproliferation and security crisis and providing top Iranian officials - particularly Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - a propaganda bonanza", Kimball said.

Zarif did not join the post-meeting press conference but tweeted: "Strong consensus in Brussels today: 1) Iran is complying with #JCPOA, 2) Iranian people have every right to all its dividends, 3) Any move that undermines JCPOA is unacceptable".

"Congress' main goal now is to fix the key flaws of the Iran nuclear deal; to that end, I'm drafting legislation to do so and, as we work on this matter, we must be dedicated to permanently preventing, not just delaying, Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state", Roskam said, criticizing what he described as weaker efforts being pushed by his colleagues.

Zarif took to Twitter after the Brussels meeting to warn that "Iran's continued compliance (is) conditioned on full compliance by the U.S.".

The push for new sanctions appears to have gained new life amid the recent wave of anti-regime protests in Iran and more specifically the Iranian government's harsh crackdown on demonstrators last week.

Iran's atomic energy agency said on Wednesday that a re-imposition of sanctions by the United States would be a violation of the nuclear deal with world powers.

Mike Pompeo, named a year ago by President Donald Trump to head the intelligence agency, told Fox News Sunday that economic conditions in Iran "are not good".

USA officials and others familiar with the administration's deliberations told The Associated Press that Trump is likely to back the accord for now but that he may pair his decision with new, targeted sanctions on Iranian businesses and people.

Trump on January 12 is facing another quarterly deadline for certifying whether Iran is in compliance with the deal.

Trump has called the Iran deal "the worst deal ever negotiated" and repeatedly said he would like to end the U.S. commitment.

The nuclear deal helped get us here, in a bad way.

"Iranians are clearly anxious that this time Trump will pull the plug on the J.C.P.O.A.", Mr. Kupchan said in an email.

Why is Iran's missile programme controversial?

Three other Trump administration officials told CBS News there were a number of factors in play and cautioned that it was not at all certain that the president will heed the advice of his national security team to uphold the agreement.


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