Western Me­dia nar­ra­tive of the Trump Report

Tehran Times - - ANALYSIS & INTERVIEW - By Ali Alemi

TEHRAN — Pres­i­dent of the United States in­tends to an­nounce Iran’s non-com­pli­ance with the nu­clear deal! The IAEA, in its eight re­ports, en­dorsed Iran’s com­mit­ment to a nu­clear deal. In re­cent days, var­i­ous me­dia in the world have pro­vided var­i­ous an­a­lyzes on this sub­ject. Trump has al­ready stated that a nu­clear deal with Iran is the worst pos­si­ble deal for the United States. In this re­gard, the US au­thor­i­ties are de­mand­ing an in­spec­tion of Iran’s mil­i­tary sites, the ex­ten­sion of the nu­clear agree­ment lim­its, and the in­clu­sion of Iran’s mis­sile de­fense ca­pa­bil­ity. In­stead, the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran has said it will not re­cip­ro­cate the nu­clear deal. In this re­gard, we re­view the news and an­a­lyzes of some of the me­dia:

Al­jazeera re­ported that Al­most ex­actly two years after it was signed, the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA) signed be­tween Iran and the five per­ma­nent UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers plus Ger­many and the EU is at risk of fall­ing apart.US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has called the agree­ment “the worst deal ever ” and is ex­pected to with­draw his sup­port for it within days.

The deal, which is aimed at en­sur­ing Iran’s nu­clear pro­gramme is used ex­clu­sively for civil­ian pur­poses, re­quires Iran to re­duce its ca­pac­ity to pro­duce nu­clear weapons by dras­ti­cally low­er­ing its stock­piles of en­riched ura­nium and re­mov­ing cen­trifuges ca­pa­ble of en­rich­ing the metal.In re­turn for com­ply­ing with the re­stric­tions, UN sanc­tions on the coun­try were lifted, bil­lions of dol­lars in frozen as­sets were re­leased, and the US ended some sec­ondary sanc­tions on Tehran re­lated to its nu­clear pro­gramme. Trump has re­peat­edly con­demned the Iran nu­clear deal, in­clud­ing at the UN .Iran’s com­pli­ance with the deal, which was en­shrined in UN Res­o­lu­tion 2231, would be en­sured by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA).

The deal was the end re­sult of years of di­plo­matic wran­gling be­tween the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, rep­re­sented by for­mer Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, and the gov­ern­ment of Iran’s re­formist lean­ing Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani and his lead di­plo­mat, Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Jawad Zarif. Op­po­nents of the deal in Tehran and Wash­ing­ton voiced anger at what they saw as ex­ces­sive com­pro­mise and in the US, Congress passed a law re­quir­ing the pres­i­dent to cer­tify ev­ery 90 days that Iran was keep­ing up with its end of the deal.

That process of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the crux of the cur­rent cri­sis, Trump’s threat to with­draw en­dorse­ment paves the way for new sanc­tions on Iran, and Tehran has threat­ened par­tial or com­plete with­drawal from the agree­ment in re­sponse.

“Should the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cide not to cer­tify that Iran was in com­pli­ance with the terms of the agree­ment, US Congress would then have the op­tion of im­pos­ing new US sanc­tions, or of restor­ing US sanc­tions waived un­der the JCPOA in whole or in part,” ex­plained Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Brewer of the Depart­ment of War Stud­ies at Kings Col­lege Lon­don.” The Euro­peans, at least, will be lob­by­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion to con­tinue to cer­tify that Iran is com­ply­ing with the deal, “he said, adding Euro­pean diplo­mats would also be tasked with try­ing to en­sure Iran does not with­draw from the agree­ment should their ef­forts with the US fail.

Fi­nan­cial Times also re­portd that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has called the land­mark nu­clear agree­ment in which Iran agreed to limit its nu­clear pro­gramme in ex­change for lim­ited sanc­tions re­lief the “worst deal ever” and threat­ened to scrap it. Mr Trump is ex­pected to refuse to cer­tify the deal to Congress by an Oc­to­ber 15 dead­line and ini­ti­ate stronger moves against Iran. That will not put the US in au­to­matic vi­o­la­tion of the deal, but what hap­pens next is likely to be com­pli­cated, messy and po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive.

The 2015 deal, known as the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion, was the crown­ing for­eign pol­icy achieve­ment of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. The four other per­ma­nent mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil — China, France, Rus­sia and the UK — joined Ger­many and the EU in sign­ing on to the deal with Iran. The process was en­dorsed into in­ter­na­tional law by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. To­day, all par­ties agree with as­sess­ments from the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency, a UN body that Iran is in com­pli­ance with the deal.

What is the Oc­to­ber 15 dead­line about?

Congress, which was never asked to rat­ify the deal be­cause of its near-uni­form an­tipa­thy for it, sought a role none­the­less: it passed the 2015 Iran Nu­clear Agree­ment Re­view Act, which re­quires the sit­ting ad­min­is­tra­tion to cer­tify US com­mit­ment to the deal ev­ery 90 days, in­clud­ing whether Iran re­mains com­pli­ant and whether the deal re­mains vi­tal to US na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests. The next dead­line falls on Oc­to­ber 15. If Trump does not, as ex­pected, cer­tify the deal to Congress by that date, Congress would then have 60 days to ini­ti­ate leg­is­la­tion un­der ex­pe­dited pro­ce­dures that could “snap back” the nu­clear sanc­tions it con­tin­u­ally waives on Iran. This would put the US in vi­o­la­tion of the JCPOA, which could fall apart as a re­sult.

Fi­nan­cial Times con­tin­ues: Euro­pean sig­na­to­ries to the deal — France, Ger­many and the UK — have been lob­by­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion and Congress with in­creas­ing ur­gency not to leave the deal. Like Iran, they say the deal is set in stone and can­not be changed.

But Euro­peans may at­tempt to help Mr Trump. They are seek­ing ways to tighten the deal within the bounds of the cur­rent agree­ment, or seek nu­clear talks out­side the deal. The UK has sug­gested ways to en­force it more strictly; France has sug­gested ini­ti­at­ing ‘fol­low-on” talks for an agree­ment to kick in in 2025, when some of the so-called sun­set pro­vi­sions re­lease Iran of some re­stric­tions. Euro­peans may also be open to stronger moves against Ira­nian ac­tiv­i­ties out­side the deal it­self, such as tack­ling its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gramme.

In other hand, Guardian re­ported that Euro­pean gov­ern­ments fear a con­certed ef­fort to per­suade Don­ald Trump to con­tinue to cer­tify the Iran nu­clear deal may have failed and are now look­ing for other ways to try to sal­vage the two year-old agree­ment. Euro­pean lob­by­ing ef­forts are now fo­cused on Congress which will have two months to de­cide – in the ab­sence of Trump’s en­dorse­ment of the 2015 deal – whether to reim­pose nu­clear-re­lated sanc­tions Fresh sanc­tions could in turn trig­ger Ira­nian with­drawal and a ramp­ing up of its now mostly la­tent nu­clear pro­gramme, tak­ing the Mid­dle East back to the brink of an­other ma­jor con­flict.

When Trump threat­ened to with­hold cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by a con­gres­sional dead­line of 15 Oc­to­ber, the UN gen­eral assem­bly in mid-Septem­ber was seen by the Euro­pean sig­na­to­ries of the agree­ment – the UK, France and Ger­many – as the last best chance to con­vince Trump of the dan­gers of de­stroy­ing it.But ac­cord­ing to the ac­counts of sev­eral diplo­mats in­volved, the ef­fort got nowhere. An­gela Merkel, in the fi­nal stages of an elec­tion cam­paign, could not at­tend, so it was left to Theresa May and Em­manuel Macron to use their meet­ings with the US pres­i­dent in New York to make a per­sonal plea to keep the deal alive.

CNN also re­ported that t Don­ald Trump plans to “de­cer­tify” the Iran nu­clear deal next week, declar­ing the Obama-era pact not in US in­ter­ests and launch­ing a con­gres­sional re­view pe­riod on the ac­cord, ac­cord­ing to two se­nior US of­fi­cials. Trump is ten­ta­tively sched­uled to un­veil his plan dur­ing re­marks a week from Thurs­day, though one of­fi­cial cau­tioned the tim­ing could shift.Trump said Thurs­day that Iran has not “lived up” to the spirit of the deal. Speak­ing ahead of a din­ner with mil­i­tary of­fi­cers, Trump said it was im­per­a­tive Iran not ob­tain nu­clear weapons.The French pres­i­dent made no head­way. To his con­ster­na­tion, Trump kept re­peat­ing that un­der the deal, the Ira­ni­ans would have a nu­clear bomb in five years, and noth­ing Macron could say would per­suade him oth­er­wise.

May’s ses­sion with the US pres­i­dent two days later was equally fruit­less. She used half the 50-minute meet­ing try­ing to en­gage Trump on the mer­its of the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA), but he grew testy in re­sponse. He said he had de­cided on what to do, but flatly re­fused to tell her what that was. And he shrugged off her ar­gu­ments, telling her “You make your de­ci­sions; I’ll make mine”. A Bri­tish di­plo­mat de­scribed it later as a “ro­bust” con­ver­sa­tion.

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