News ID: 192889
Published: 0129 GMT May 16, 2017

Obama officials, led by Kerry, team up to defend Iran deal from Trump

Obama officials, led by Kerry, team up to defend Iran deal from Trump

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry has teamed up with national security experts from the administration of former President Barack Obama to defend the Iran nuclear deal.

Kerry and the Obama-era officials have thrown their weight behind a newly formed organization called “Diplomacy Works,” which aims to keep incumbent President Donald Trump from harming the landmark deal that was achieved between Iran and six world powers in 2015, The Independent reported.

In its mission statement, the group hails the agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as one of the few deals that signify “the value of diplomacy.”

Besides Kerry, who was one of the deal’s chief negotiators, the group’s Council of Advisers includes high-ranking former officials such as Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state; Jen Psaki, former White House communications director; and Jeff Prescott, former National Security Council senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Persian Gulf.

Nick Burns, former under secretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration, is also among the advisers.

As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump frequently criticized the JCPOA as “the worst deal ever negotiated,” but offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, renegotiate its terms or keep it in place.

After accusing Iran of “not living up to the spirit” of the deal, the new Republican president said in April that his administration was analyzing the JCPOA and would “have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future.”

Shortly before Trump’s January 20 inauguration, Kerry said the nuclear accord was one of Obama's policy victories and warned Trump that canceling it would harm the US in an irreparable way.

Tehran has warned that it would restore its nuclear activities to the pre-JCPOA level, if the US fails to keep its end of the bargain.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has on multiple occasions verified Iran’s adherence to its commitments under the JCPOA.

Diplomacy Works has increased its activities ahead of Trump’s first foreign tour, which begins with a trip to Saudi Arabia later this month.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that Trum's upcoming Middle East tour, which includes stops in Israel and Vatican, was ultimately aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in “unity” with Israel against Iran.

The Riyadh regime has been one of the outspoken opponents of the deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations—the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also criticized the deal on many occasions.

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