Proxy war over Iran nu­clear agree­ment di­vides US, Europe at the United Na­tions

Business World - - THE WORLD -

NEW YORK — As Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump pre­pares to an­nounce whether he’ll cer­tify Iran’s com­pli­ance with the deal to curb its nu­clear pro­gram, US and Euro­pean ne­go­tia­tors at the United Na­tions (UN) are on an­other col­li­sion course — this time over the Is­lamic Repub­lic’s hu­man rights record.

The US is push­ing for tougher lan­guage con­demn­ing Iran for hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in the draft of a UN res­o­lu­tion that’s typ­i­cally taken up ev­ery year, but al­lies — in­clud­ing some in Europe — are push­ing back, just as they are in de­fend­ing the nu­clear ac­cord that Mr. Trump has called “the worst deal ever.”

While both sides want to crit­i­cize Iran on hu­man rights, they dis­agree over how far to go and whether to give Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani some credit, ac­cord­ing to notes on the draft shared with Bloomberg News.

Ma­neu­ver­ing over the res­o­lu­tion comes ahead of an Oct. 15 dead­line Mr. Trump faces un­der US law to tell Congress if he can con­firm Iran is com­ply­ing with the 2015 ac­cord he’s called an “em­bar­rass­ment to the United States.” The pres­i­dent may de­cer­tify Iran and push for new con­straints on its be­hav­ior but keep the US in the multi­na­tional agree­ment, which lifted a range of eco­nomic sanc­tions in ex­change for curbs on the nu­clear pro­gram.

Nikki Ha­ley, the US am­bas­sador to the UN, and other Trump ad­vis­ers have ar­gued that the ac­cord’s in­spec­tions regime, led by the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA), has loop­holes. They also say the agree­ment ne­go­ti­ated un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama falls short be­cause it fails to ad­dress Iran’s con­tin­u­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram, its in­volve­ment in con­flicts across the Mid­dle East and its hu­man rights record.


The world “must also con­tinue to hold Iran re­spon­si­ble for its mis­sile launches, sup­port for ter­ror­ism, dis­re­gard for hu­man rights, and vi­o­la­tions of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions,” Ms. Ha­ley said in Au­gust after Mr. Rouhani threat­ened to aban­don the nu­clear deal if Iran faced more sanc­tions.

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