US Faces Rough Road in Seeking JCPOA Review

US Faces Rough Road in Seeking JCPOA Review  US Faces Rough Road in Seeking JCPOA Review

The United States could encounter difficulties in convincing its partners on the Iran nuclear deal, namely China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, collectively referred to as P5+1, to accept its decision to review the agreement, experts told Sputnik.

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suggested that the US should launch a congressional debate on whether the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was in US national security interests.

The envoy stressed that the US would not be withdrawing from the deal, even if US President Donald Trump decided that Iran was not in compliance with the terms of the agreement.

According to Haley, the deal fell short of what was initially promised, as the Iranian nuclear program was put on pause rather than shut down and the "anytime, anywhere" inspections of sites were not available unconditionally.

"The Trump administration displays resolve and serious attempts to [undermine] the agreement to [compel Iran to give in to] US demands, including concessions elsewhere in countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon," Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science at the Lebanese American University, told Sputnik.

Trump could potentially impose sanctions on Iran through executive orders, bypassing the legislative branch. However, the US Congress had a say in the approval of JCPOA and so it would have to be involved in its renegotiation as well.

Since January 2016, when the deal took effect, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been issuing quarterly reports in which it has verified Tehran's full compliance with its nuclear-related commitments. Nevertheless, Washington has remained suspicious of Iran's compliance.

According to Mohammad Marandi, a professor at Tehran University, the US was the one in breach of the agreement, both under former US president, Barack Obama, and now, under Trump.

"Under Obama, the US passed the Iran sanctions' act, which was a clear violation … And under the Trump presidency too, the recent sanctions were a clear violation of the JCPOA," he said.

In July, the US Congress approved a bill on new non-nuclear sanctions against Iran over its missile program, regional activities and alleged human rights violations.

"It seems that the US is currently either trying to impose more sanctions to make JCPOA meaningless for Iran, so the Iranians feel that there is no alternative but to withdraw. On the other hand, there is a possibility that the US may simply want to find an excuse to say that Iran is not complying and then withdraw," Marandi said.

  No Appetite for Revisiting Deal

The Trump administration is interested in reviewing the Iranian nuclear deal, but other parties to the agreement, namely China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, are reluctant to side with it.

Salamey suggested that the US may convene a meeting with JCPOA partners and ask to establish new monitoring requirements, such as open access to suspected military sites.

However, according to Marandi, the US would find it difficult to persuade other states to go along with it.

"The other countries in the P5+1 have repeatedly acknowledged that Iran has fulfilled its side of the bargain and that it has been complying with the agreement. Taking this into consideration and the fact that Trump is not popular among EU countries and the Chinese leadership, as well as the fact that the US has sanctioned Russia, make it much more difficult for the US to forge any sort of an anti-Iran coalition," Marandi explained.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints