Is Washington Too Focused on Iran's Nuclear Program?

Donald Trump Iran nuclear deal

This was a bold and insane move by Mr Trump given that it opens the door to Iran re-establishing its nuclear program, and there is no clear benefit, economic or otherwise, to the U.S. pulling out.

Trump's decision to withdraw from the accord and reimpose sanctions on the Islamic republic overturns years of diplomacy, could worsen instability in the Middle East and threatens business in Iran worth billions of dollars.

That key regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia back Trump's decision should indicate a possible opening to reshape the worldwide landscape against the direction the Iranian regime demands.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Iran's Hassan Rouhani agreed Wednesday to work toward the continued implementation of the nuclear deal despite the U.S. decision, which Macron called "a mistake".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told his Parliament that Britain will continue to respect the deal as long as worldwide inspectors can verify Iran's compliance.

Meetings would also be held with the likes of oil giant Total and others with major business and economic stakes in the region, he added.

China insisted it would maintain "normal economic and trade exchanges with Tehran" and "continue to devote itself to safeguard and implement the deal".

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Chief among the critics was French President Emmanuel Macron, who was Europe's leading emissary to Washington in efforts to defend the deal and who has sought to cultivate a strong personal rapport with Trump.

Mogherini's remarks on Friday echoed her comments that directly followed Trump's withdrawal from the Iran deal-officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)-earlier this week. "The Iran deal is defective at its core".

"Iran is subject to the world's most robust nuclear verification regime", said International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano.

"The big question mark is what the United States government might do to non-US companies that continue to work with Iran and, by doing so, open themselves up to U.S. secondary sanctions", Janet Kim, a partner at Washington-based worldwide law firm Baker McKenzie, said.

In response, Rouhani warned Iran could resume uranium enrichment "without limit".

Also on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel disclosed the fracture in the traditional Europe-U.S. alliance by saying that Europe can no longer rely on the United States to protect it and urged the bloc to take its destiny into its own hands.

On Wednesday, a separate OPEC source had said Saudi Arabia was monitoring the impact of the USA move on oil supplies and was ready to offset any shortage but would not act alone.

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This has already driven a wedge between the US and its European allies, and that wedge could get a lot bigger in six months, when the Department of the Treasury says it is scheduled to sanction foreign financial institutions, including state banks, that purchase oil and other products from Iranian financial institutions.

"But for Canada's goal, we make our decisions around foreign policy here in Ottawa, not in Washington, not elsewhere".

Planemakers Airbus and Boeing, oil companies and vehicle manufacturers such as France's Renault and Peugeot could be among companies hardest hit.

But is Iran really as bad as Mr Trump says? "The JCPOA lifted missile-related sanctions without any requirements on Iran's ballistic missile program".

The Russian foreign ministry said it is "deeply disappointed" by Trump's decision.

USA sanctions on Iran will have a six-month period during which buyers should "wind down" oil purchases, meaning any loss of supply will not be immediately felt in the market. Prices have gained over 8% over the past month and 15% since the beginning of the year. That was always a doubtful prospect, and everything those states have said since Trump's announcement indicates they will not join the U.S.'s stance.

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