Trump Raises Irrelevant Ruckus Over Iran's JCPOA Compliance

Trump Raises Irrelevant Ruckus Over Iran's JCPOA ComplianceTrump Raises Irrelevant Ruckus Over Iran's JCPOA Compliance

US President Donald Trump personally intervened to inject tougher language into a State Department letter to Congress last week that found Iran was in compliance with the deal limiting its nuclear program, an administration official familiar with the matter said.

The letter to Congress from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certified that Iran is complying with terms of the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The nuclear deal was reached with the US and five other world powers in 2015 to restrict its nuclear activities in return for relief from economic sanctions, a finding required by US law every 90 days.

But the final version highlighted Iran's designation by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism, reflecting Trump's intervention after he found the draft letter too soft on Tehran, said the official, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations.

The letter also said the administration will review whether to reimpose the US sanctions linked to the nuclear program despite Iran's compliance.

A day after sending the letter to Congress on April 18, Tillerson appeared at the State Department to sharply criticize the nuclear deal reached under former president, Barack Obama, calling it "another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions. We buy them off for a short period of time and then someone has to deal with it later."

Tehran says its nuclear activities are totally for civilian applications and have no military aspects, which has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Those Tillerson comments came at Trump's request, the official said, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday the intervention by Trump, along with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which is totally irrelevant to the nuclear deal.

Trump has panned what he's called "the horrible Iran deal", claiming it would let Iran build nuclear weapons eventually. But reimposing the sanctions that were explicitly tied to Iran's nuclear program would face particular opposition from European allies and give the government in Tehran grounds to walk away from the accord.

At a press conference at the White House on April 20, Trump continued to slam the nuclear agreement and said Iran was not "living up to the spirit of the agreement".

"And we're analyzing it very, very carefully and we'll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future," Trump said.

Experts believe the hardening American stance against the multilateral nuclear deal endorsed by five other world powers and the UN nuclear watchdog is aimed at mollifying Iran's adversaries Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an April 20 statement that the agreement is confined to nuclear issues, saying Iran has its own complaints about "nefarious activities of the US government" that are not covered by the deal.

"Worn-out US accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance," Zarif said on Twitter the same day.


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