MPs Reject Trump’s Call for Military Inspections

MPs Reject Trump’s Call for Military InspectionsMPs Reject Trump’s Call for Military Inspections

Lawmakers vigorously rejected a push by US President Donald Trump for inspections of Iran's military sites under the pretext of ensuring the full implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"The Islamic Republic will never allow the inspection of its military sites by any country, particularly the United States," Jahanbakhsh Mohebbinia told ICANA on Friday.

A day earlier, AP cited senior US officials as saying the Trump administration is pushing for inspections of what they called suspicious Iranian military sites to test the strength of the nuclear deal that Trump desperately wants to cancel to please his regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"The US president is in no position to test the efficiency of the nuclear agreement and Iran's commitment to the pact by demanding inspections into the Islamic Republic's military facilities," Mohebbinia said.

The inspections are part of a more aggressive US approach toward Iran and the nuclear deal.

While the Trump administration seeks to police the existing deal more strictly, it is also working to fix what Trump aides have called "serious flaws" in the landmark deal that, they say,—if not resolved quickly—will likely lead Trump to pull out.

That effort also includes discussions with European countries to negotiate a follow-up agreement to prevent Iran from allegedly resuming nuclear development after the deal's restrictions expire in about a decade, the US officials said.

Iran has consistently denied western accusations that there might be military aspects to its nuclear program and insists it is only for civilian purposes.  

The inspections requests could play heavily into Trump's much-anticipated decision about whether to stick with the deal he has long derided.

According to lawmaker Qasem Jasemi, Iran is unlikely to accede to Trump's demand, as it regards any foreign access to its military facilities as a breach of its national security.

"Inspection of military or missile sites is among the redlines of the Islamic Republic and the US will never be allowed to do that," he said.

  Clashes Within US Gov't    

The anti-Iran campaign gained fresh urgency this month following a dramatic clash within the US administration about whether to reaffirm Iran's compliance, as is required every 90 days.

Trump was eager to declare Tehran in violation, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran's compliance in all its reports.  

At the urging of top Cabinet members, Trump begrudgingly agreed to reaffirm Tehran's adherence to the pact.

Trump faces another deadline in three months.

He recently told Wall Street Journal that he expects to say Iran is not complying, setting a high bar for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other aides to persuade him otherwise.

"If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago," Trump said.

Access to Iran's military sites was one of the most contentious issues in the 2015 deal, in which Tehran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

Last week in Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency is based, Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon floated the proposal to the European members of the Joint Commission that oversees the deal, one official said.  

Britain, France and Germany joined the US, Russia, China and the European Union two years ago in brokering the deal with Iran.

To force inspections of new sites in Iran, the US would need to enlist the support of the IAEA and a majority of the countries in the deal.

The US partners have rejected Trump's antagonistic approach toward the deal.  

As a candidate, Trump threatened to rip up the deal that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had brokered.

As president, Trump has yet to take that step, as his administration finishes a broader Iran policy review expected to conclude in August.

Tehran can propose alternatives to on-site inspections, or reject the request, which would trigger a 24-day process for the Joint Commission countries to override the rejection. That could drag on for months.  


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