Although US President Trump considers the Iran nuclear agreement the “worst deal ever”, he is holding on to it for the time being and refraining from sanctions. He is now putting the gun on the chest of the Europeans.
In a written statement, US President Donald Trump warned that this was the last time he renounced the reinstatement of sanctions. He gave the European negotiating partners Great Britain, France and Germany a period of 120 days. In these four months, the Europeans would have time to eliminate the “terrible deficiencies” in the agreement and convince Iran. The Trump government itself refuses to negotiate directly with Iran.
The fact that Trump has not already killed the nuclear deal is partly due to the Europeans, commented New York Times correspondent Mark Landler on PBS. On the other hand, Defense Minister James Mattis and Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson also warned the president to terminate the agreement just now – shortly after the unrest in Iran – “If the deal had been torn, the Iranian government would have blamed the US for all its problems and distract from their own corruption, so there are good reasons to stick to it for a little while longer. ”
However, in his statement, Trump also emphasized that if, at any point in the next four months, he came to the conclusion that the Europeans could not make any improvements, he would immediately withdraw from the deal.
An almost insoluble task for the Europeans, especially since Trump is not just about small improvements. Trump demands that Iran also refrain from missile tests. He also wants Iran to commit to stop supporting terrorist groups and not destabilize the region.
“Sunset clause” should disappear
Finally, Trump’s most important demand, which is also supported by Israel and Saudi Arabia: the abolition of the so-called “sunset clause” in the nuclear deal. It will allow Iran to gradually step up its nuclear program from 2025, for example to enrich more uranium. Landler of the “New York Times” says: “The President wants to have deleted, so that any activity that allows Iran to build a nuclear bomb, not only for ten or 20 years excluded, but forever.”
For the Europeans, it would be difficult enough to convince Iran to abandon missile testing and terrorist financing. Formally, however, this could be done in a supplementary agreement that does not change the previous nuclear agreement. But getting Iran to renounce nuclear activities after 2025 would be a serious encroachment on the current agreement. That is also rejected by China and Russia.