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President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a ceremony at the University of Tehran on Oct. 7 to mark the beginning of the new academic year.
President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a ceremony at the University of Tehran on Oct. 7 to mark the beginning of the new academic year.

JCPOA Gains Unaffected by Trump’s Threats

Not only Trump alone but dozens like him cannot cancel the nuclear agreement's irreversible gains

JCPOA Gains Unaffected by Trump’s Threats

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran could not be denied what he called the "irreversible" benefits it has already reaped from the breakthrough nuclear accord, playing down the US threat to quit the accord for allegedly being too generous toward Iran.

"No one can reverse the gains we achieved during the nuclear negotiations and under JCPOA," the president was quoted as saying by his official website.

JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official title of the agreement concluded in July 2015 after over 18 months of talks with major powers to swap temporary curbs on Tehran's nuclear work for relief from international sanctions.

US President Donald Trump is expected to announce next week that he will decertify the deal, by claiming that it is not in the national interest of the United States.

The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the reinstatement of US sanctions against Iran, which will have little impact as other signatories, namely France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, are not on board.

"Not only Trump alone but dozens like him cannot cancel JCPOA's irreversible gains," Rouhani told a ceremony at the prestigious University of Tehran on Saturday to mark the beginning of the new academic year.

If Trump declares Iran non-compliant on Oct. 15, the deadline for his administration's next quarterly notification to the US Congress on Iran's commitments to the deal, the legislature will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the suspended sanctions.

Trump has long wanted to withdraw from the agreement completely, despite objections from Washington's European allies and other deal parties and even top officials from his own administration, who say it is worth preserving.

This week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed qualified support for the deal during congressional testimonies. And Mattis suggested he did not believe taking the step to decertify would scuttle the agreement, the Washington Post reported.

Trump is expected to deliver a speech, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12, laying out a larger strategy for confronting what he claims to be the Islamic Republic's support for terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region.

Officials cautioned that plans could still change and the White House would not confirm plans for a speech or its contents.

"The administration looks forward to sharing details of our Iran strategy at the appropriate time," said Michael Anton, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

The fate of the nuclear pact is only one consideration in that larger strategy, US officials said, although given Trump's focus on the deal as an "embarrassment", it is the most high-profile element.

If, however, Trump refuses to change tack and walks out of the deal, it will undermine US credibility and lead to American isolation.

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