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US Ex-Officials Launch Project to Defend JCPOA
National

US Ex-Officials Launch Project to Defend JCPOA

US former secretary of state, John Kerry, and other top officials that served under US ex-president, Barack Obama, have founded an organization named "Diplomacy Works" aimed at defending the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.

The deal removed international sanctions imposed by western powers over accusations that Tehran intended to secretly build nukes. Numerous inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, have confirmed Iran's assertion that its nuclear activities have no military aspects and are only meant for peaceful purposes.  

In return for the lifting of punitive measures, the deal put temporary curbs on Iran's nuclear work.

"Diplomacy Works will support this keystone nonproliferation agreement by providing up-to-date information and analysis about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, its implementation and congressional or administration actions that affect its viability", a mission statement posted on the group's website said, using the formal title for the deal.

The organization was formed days before new US President Donald Trump is to decide for the first time whether to renew waivers temporarily suspending US sanctions on Iran.

The deadline for Trump to make his decision is Thursday.

During his presidential campaign, the US leader repeatedly called the accord with Iran "the worst deal ever" and threatened to pull back from it.

The group said in its statement the US would be in a much worse strategic position than before, if it decides to abandon the pact.

"If the US were to pull out of the JCPOA, we would be doing so alone. Absent a clear violation of the agreement by Iran, our partners in the P5+1 [China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany] who helped negotiate the Iran deal would be unlikely to reimpose their own sanctions, without which American sanctions lose most of their impact.

"The goal of Diplomacy Works is to ensure that the diplomatic gains of the past are built upon, rather than squandered, which will be essential to a secure and prosperous future," the statement said.

The group's Council of Advisors includes Kerry, one of the chief negotiators of the Iran deal; Antony Blinken, the former deputy secretary of state; Nick Burns, the former undersecretary of state for political affairs; Puneet Talwar, the former assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and Jen Psaki, former White House communications director.

On April 18, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a letter to US Congress Iran had complied with its commitments so far.

Tillerson also notified the congress that Trump has directed an inter-agency review to "evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the [nuclear deal] is vital to the national security interests of the United States".

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