Fate Of Nuclear Deal Thought To Be Uncertain With Tillerson's Ouster

Joseph Votel

"If some European countries go after imposing non-nuclear sanctions on Iran to appease the USA president, they would make a big miscalculation and will see its impact on the deal and its continuation", Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Friday. So we were not really thinking the same.

On March 13, President Trump announced that the current CIA Director and former Tea Party Congressman Mike Pompeo, also known for his tough stance towards Iran, will replace Tillerson.

Tillerson earned Trump's ire by disagreeing with him on many substantive policy matters, including the president's decisions to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and cozy up to Russian Federation.

In October 2017, Trump finally decertified the Iran deal, which effectively opened the door for the U.S. Congress to reimpose sanctions. "It may well be the first casualty of Tillerson's ousting will be the end of the Iran deal".

And some worry that Pompeo's confirmation makes it more likely the United States will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and subsequently jeopardize any diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang.

Considering that the nuclear deal has failed in its objectives to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, and has rather allowed Iran to continue with other malign activities too, this would be the best scenario.

Trump stated, "When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was bad, he thought it was OK".

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Based on his past tough statements on North Korea, China and Iran, many analysts say Pompeo, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, will likely rely more on U.S. military strength, and be less supportive of worldwide agreements than Tillerson.

Senior State Department official Brian Hook said on Friday after talks in Berlin and Vienna that Trump wants to reach a "supplemental" deal with the European signatories to the agreement by then, according to Agence French Press (AFP).

"The JCPOA is a product of long negotiations and a package of exchanges which have (already) taken place", Araqchi said, adding that Iran has fully observed its commitments under the agreement and expects the other side of the deal to do the same.

Congressional aides who've worked with him say that Pompeo is a smart guy, level-headed and reasonable. "Rather, it should cause the North Korean leader to ask himself, How can I sign any agreement with the president who's prepared to break every previous agreement?'"

The sanctions would be particularly imposed against Iranian nationals involved in the development of the country's ballistic missile progam, Reuters reported, citing a document it obtained.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has intensively lobbied Trump against the nuclear pact, which he sees as merely delaying Tehran's ability to produce a nuclear warhead.

The differences are even more stark on the sunset provisions, which are codified in the nuclear deal and which the Europeans and Iran regard as inviolable, according to the diplomats. Iran maintains that it must have medium-range missiles to defend itself, an argument the Europeans have been sympathetic to.

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