18 February 2018

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Vienna, uncertainty shrouds tenability of Iranian nuclear agreement

Iran and the main international powers met yesterday in the Austrian capital. Focus of "closed door meeting" the "respect" of the terms of the agreement. Tensions between Washington and Tehran are increasing. Iranian Minister: The United States respects neither the spirit or the terms of the agreement. 

Vienna (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iran and the main international powers met yesterday in Vienna to assess compliance with the 2015 Tehran nuclear agreement, in the face of growing general "uncertainty" sharpened by the recent allegations of the US administration.

A "closed-door" meeting, without  press briefings or statements at the conclusion. Representing the Islamic Republic there was Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, who stated that Tehran was "respecting" the terms but this "is not valid for other fronts" involved in the agreement, meaning the United States.

There was great interest on the eve of the quarterly meeting, given the increasing tensions between Iran and the US, signatories to the agreement with Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner returned to the issue, stating that the "review" announced by Donald Trump will analyze "the role of Iran in the region and the world." Based on these elements, Washington "will behave accordingly".

After years of embargo, in 2015, Iran obtained a partial easing of economic sanctions of the West, in exchange for the agreement on the controversial atomic program. It envisages cutting centrifuges to "enrich" uranium - capable of theoretically creating the bomb - from 19,000 and a total of 5,000. This reinforces the inspections of UN Independent Experts. The agreements will remain in force for at least 10 years. There is also a limit on uranium stocks, which must remain below 300 kg for the next 15 years.

The agreement was welcomed by a majority of the international community, except for some critical positions, including Israel and the US Congress. The United States has maintained a number of sanctions because pf Tehran's ballistic missile program, as well as support for [armed] Shiite movements in the Middle East. Among them Hezbollah in Lebanon, the government of Damascus in Syria and the Houthi "rebels" in Yemen.

Among the various measures in place, there is also the freezing of billions of dollars of Iranian bonds, moved during the era of the last Shah of Persia Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and Tehran wants them back.

Washington, however, continues to block the use of the dollar in banking transactions, stopping new economic contracts established after the nuclear agreement. Hence Tehran's decision in June to denounce the United States at the International Court of Justice, for "misappropriation" of nearly two billion dollars.

The White House continues to consider the Islamic Republic a nation that "sponsors" state terrorism and the rise of Trump's presidency, after Barack Obama's attempts to restore relations, marked a new escalation of tension. For US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the deal does not focus on "the goal of an Iran without nuclear power" and is a way to "buy" Tehran's "short-term" cooperation.

He also criticizes the position of the leaders of the Islamic Republic, particularly in the radical wing ready to take the presidency from the outgoing leader Hassan Rouhani (among the great architects of the agreement) at the May elections. In particular, according to the radical Iranian coalition, the agreement has failed to result in  the desired economic benefits. This is also thanks to the refusal to bend of the United States, which only further benefits radicals in Iran.

Last week Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to the Trump administration's assertions, pointing out that Washington does not follow neither the spirit nor the content of the agreement. "So far," he said, "it has undermined both."

See also

02/12/2016 10:15:00 IRAN - USA
US Senate approves the extension of sanctions against Tehran

Iran Sanctions Act provides for the extension to 10 years of sanctions. The text approved by 99 votes in favor, 0 votes against. Previously, the Chamber had given the green light to the law. It now needs the signature of outgoing President Obama. The point people of the future Trump administration, include the head of the CIA, ready to cancel the international agreement. Approval in Israel.


08/03/2017 16:14:00 IRAN – UNITED STATES
US attempts to seize Iranian assets to compensate terror victims sparks Iran’s fury

According to the Islamic Republic, the US lawyers’ legal case is "completely unfair". The goal is to use the money to compensate 9/11 victims, including US$ 1.6 billion held in a Luxembourg bank. For Iran’s deputy foreign minister, the action is “unfair and baseless”.

Beijing trying to “water down” sanctions against Tehran
China has proposed amendments to US-drafted sanctions. The mainland is Iran’s biggest trading partner, and depends on its energy supplies. The United States does not exclude the military option. Turkey offers to mediate.

20/04/2017 18:48:00 IRAN – UNITED STATES
Washington accuses Tehran of “ongoing” provocations, jeopardising nuclear deal

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talks tough on Iran, accusing Tehran of exporting "terrorism and violence". The Islamic Republic is blamed for "destabilising" various Mideast nations and “intensifying multiple conflicts”. Trump orders review of the nuclear deal.

12/01/2018 09:46:00 IRAN - EU - USA
Europe against Trump, try to save the Iranian nuclear deal

London, Paris and Berlin are working to preserve an pact essential for international security. The JCPO must be maintained, while imposing new "red lines" on the Islamic Republic. But the unpredictability of the US president weighs on efforts. White House decision on the extension of the terms expected today.

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