Trump Seen as Committed to Nuclear Agreement

The Trump administration has acknowledged that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal and thus has extended the sanctions relief. But it also has launched a review of the agreement
Abbas AraqchiAbbas Araqchi

A nuclear negotiator said the United States has upheld its side of the 2015 nuclear deal, despite frequent tirades by beleaguered US President Donald Trump.

While campaigning for the White House, the hawkish Republican and visibly controversial president faulted the agreement, calling it "the worst deal ever negotiated" and vowed to either dismantle or renegotiate it.

However despite his openly antagonistic stance, there was no clear indication how he would approach the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the accord is formally known.

"Trump so far has remained committed to the JCPOA," Abbas Araqchi told ICANA on Tuesday, after attending a hearing of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission to brief lawmakers on the latest developments surrounding the deal's implementation.  

Trump's administration, in a notification to the US legislature last month, acknowledged that Tehran was complying with the nuclear agreement, but said it was launching an inter-agency review of whether the lifting of sanctions against Iran was in the United States' national security interests.

The accord, which was negotiated between Iran and the six power nations to swap sanctions relief for temporary constraints on Tehran's nuclear program, requires the US State Department to notify Congress every 90 days on Iran's compliance.

Trump extended the sanctions relief on May 17, despite widespread speculation that he might opt not to do so, given his hardening stance on Iran and the action plan.

***First Test

"The US Congress laws allow the president to waive sanctions for 4 or 6 months," said Abbas Araqchi, who is also deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs. 

"Last week [May 19] was the deadline for renewing the easing of the group of sanctions that must be suspended every 4 months. In fact, it was the first test for Trump, who finally decided to extend the suspension of nuclear sanctions against Iran," he said.

The US also reaffirmed commitment to the action plan during the last meeting of a supervisory panel on April 25.

It draws on the findings of the UN nuclear agency's verification of Iran's compliance as well as its own independent probe to decide on the extension of the sanctions relief.

US partners, namely Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, oppose Trump's call for a full review of the international deal and are in full agreement that it must be kept intact and alive.

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