US President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 20. Photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — US President Donald Trump said he doesn’t believe Iran has lived “up to the spirit” of the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) currently is evaluating whether Iran — as it maintains it has — is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, and if the US can impose sanctions.
“Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement, and they have to do that,” Trump said in a joint news conference with Italy’s visiting Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday. “We’re analysing it very, very carefully and will have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future.”
It’s not the first time Trump expressed his belief that Iran isn’t complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed on July 14, 2015, by P5+1 members— China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, plus Germany.
The JCPOA was a mechanism to lift all UN Security Council sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program, so long as it remained in compliance in developing “an exclusively peaceful, indigenous nuclear programme.”
“The Iran nuclear deal is a terrible one for the United States and the world. It does nothing but make Iran rich and will lead to catastrophe,” Trump tweeted on April 4.
The nuclear deal was negotiated under the administration of US President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to the disagreement of the Republican-controlled congress, which had already imposed economic sanctions against Iran.
Trump believes that the nuclear deal should be linked to what he calls Iran’s role as a state-sponsor of terror.
“I don't know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy - yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!” Trump tweeted in February.
Iran believes the US should hold up to its side of the agreement.
“Worn-out US accusations can't mask its admission of Iran's compliance w/ JCPOA, obligating US to change course & fulfill its own commitments,” its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday.
“#IranDeal obliges US to support successful implementation, incl in public statements, and to refrain from adversely affecting normal trade,” Zarif wrote in another tweet., calling the activities of the US government “nefarious.”
In a letter from Rex Tillerson, secretary of the US State Department, to Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Tillerson wrote that as of April 18, “Iran is compliant through April 18th with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”
Tillerson added that the NSC “will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States.
“When the interagency review is completed, the administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue.”