“Trump has shown distain for international agreements throughout his presidency. His decision to violate the JCPOA and withdraw from the agreement is just one more example of his rejection of multilateralism,” Kelsey Davenport told Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Tuesday.
“His actions risk isolating the United States at a time when cooperation is necessary to confront complex global challenges, including the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
Davenport said that what US allies in the region failed to acknowledge is that Trump has no viable “plan b” for pursuing a broader deal with Iran.
She added, “Trump claims that he will build the strongest sanctions regime in history to pressure Iran back to negotiations on comprehensive agreement that includes the nuclear program, missiles, and regional policies. But Trump lacks the credibility and support for building a coalition to re-impose sanctions on Iran.”
“Given that Iran is abiding by the terms of the deal, and that there was no legitimate reason for Trump to violate the agreement by re-imposing sanctions and withdraw from it, Trump’s “new deal strategy” is a delusion.”
Answering a question regarding the role of the UN in protecting the JCPOA, she said, “The UN plays a critical role in implementing measures in Resolution 2231 that compliment the JCPOA, such as the UN arms embargo and missile restrictions on Iran, and facilitate select JCPOA provisions, such as the procurement channel.”
“The Secretary General's reports on implementation of Resolution 2231 are an important tool for investigating allegations that Iran violated the arms embargo and ballistic missile transfer prohibitions, as well as overseeing the procurement channel and making recommendations to better inform member states on how to utilize that provision of the JCPOA.”
“Since Resolution 2231 includes provisions calling upon all member states to support implementation of the agreement, it is appropriate that the Secretary General has called out US actions in the past that created an environment of uncertainty surrounding the nuclear deal. The Secretary General should continue to condemn Trump's approach to the JCPOA as destabilizing the deal and undermining nonproliferation efforts. But it is not for the UN to determine if the United States violated the JCPOA, that rests with the remaining parties to the agreement.”
According to media reports, Antonio Guterres has expressed his regret for the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement.
Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association added that full implementation of the JCPOA is in the best interests of international peace and security, a key principle of the UN. Going forward, the Secretary General can, and should, continue to emphasize the importance of outreach to ensure better understanding of Resolution 2231 and the procurement channel in particular, and encourage all member states to support and sustain the JCPOA.
About President Trump claim that his decision to abandon the JCPOA had already changed Iran’s regional policies or it is merely a political statement in response to internal and international criticisms of his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, Davenport said, “The JCPOA resolved long-standing international concerns over Iran’s nuclear program and the restrictions and verification measures imposed by the deal provide greater confidence that Tehran’s nuclear activities are entirely peaceful. Trump, however, cast the JCPOA as a failure because it did not change Iran’s regional policies or halt ballistic missile testing, despite the fact that these issues were outside the scope of the deal.”
“Trump is now looking for validation that his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA was justified and that his plan to pressure Iran into negotiating a ‘better deal’ that includes not only the nuclear program, but also missiles and regional activities, is working. But after needlessly violating the JCPOA, there is no incentive for Iran, or Washington’s partners in the JCPOA to engage with the United States on a ‘new deal.’ His pressure based-approach to coerce Iran into additional concessions has been widely rejected by the international community and after the US failed to follow through on its commitments under the JCPOA, Iran would be right to be skeptical about US intentions to follow through on a future deal.”
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini outlined on Tuesday the EU’s strategy to continue business with Iran. She highlighted the importance of small and medium European enterprises, which are less engaged in the US market.
The US politician said, 'European leaders cannot force companies to continue doing business with Iran, but the EU is taking positive steps to counter the reimposition of US sanctions and create a pathway for entities to continue economic engagement. The EU decision to update the blocking regulation that prohibits EU entities from cooperating with US sanctions is just one proactive example of how the Europeans are looking to sustain the deal and realize the sanctions benefits envisioned by the JCPOA.'
She said that the EU decision sends a powerful signal to the US that the EU 'rejects Trump’s irresponsible behavior and continues to support the deal.'
Davenport added, “The blocking regulations and the other creative mechanisms under discussion also sends a message to Iran that the EU is serious about its commitment to sustain the JCPOA, and willing to part ways with a key ally to do so.
“While the EU, China, and Russia continue to look for options to implement the JCPOA, it is critical that Iran continue to act with restraint and abide by the terms of the deal. Thus far, Tehran has rightly continued to implement the JCPOA, despite the provocative US violation.”
Quoting Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif saying if the “benefits of the deal for Iran start to diminish, then there is no reason for Iran to remain in the deal,” but there is no nuclear-related or economic rationale for Iran to exceed the limits set by the agreement, or roll back the verification measures. Iran’s practical needs for uranium enrichment are being met by its current capacities and foreign suppliers.
*Kelsey Davenport is the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association. She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of Directors for the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship.