London, 19 Mar – At the end of last week, US officials confirmed that they are calling on their allies in Europe to agree on further measures against Iran so that the 2015 nuclear deal can be kept alive.
The US diplomats said that it was not certain that the United States would pull out of the deal despite what has been said by President Donald Trump.
The comments came after private meetings in Vienna between Iran, Russia and the United States.
The US delegation was led by State Department official Brian Hook who said that the United States needs to agree with Europe on some of the more concerning aspects of the nuclear agreement. He mentioned in particular Iran’s long-range ballistic missiles, the sunset provisions that put an expiry date on certain clauses of the deal, and the poor inspection process.
The United States is adamant that Iran’s ballistic missile program is addressed. The US, and several other nations, have expressed their concern about Iran’s program that clearly goes beyond just defensive purposes.
President Trump has also criticised the “sunset” provisions of the deal as they simply let restrictions expire with time in regards to the country’s nuclear enrichment program.
The site inspections have also been criticised by many officials who do not agree that Iran should be given advance notice before an inspection is carried out.
Providing Iran notice means that any inspections will undoubtedly come up clean given that there has been adequate time for a clean-up.
The US and several European leaders have said that Iran’s belligerence across the region is something that needs to be addressed. Hook said that the decisive act of designating the Lebanese Hezbollah’s political wing as a terrorist organisation is one sure way of getting tougher.
Hook said that President Trump has given a deadline of 12th May for the US and its European allies to come to an agreement.
Although it has not been confirmed, it is thought that the US took opportunity to call on Iran to release the imprisoned Americans in Iran, of which there are a number of people concerned.
Since the announcement of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s firing, many, including officials in Iran and Europe, have speculated that Trump made the move so that he could move forward with his plans to scrap the nuclear deal. Trump has previously expressed willingness to leave the deal if Europe refuses to rectify the major flaws in the agreement.
With regards to the meeting between the US, Russia and Iran, Iranian officials have refused to comment.
However, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran, Abbas Aragchi, said last week that Tillerson’s firing is proof that Trump wants out of the deal. He also that said Iran would pull out of the deal if the US did.
After the meeting, the US officials confirmed that it was productive and it affirmed that the US is “meeting its commitments” to the deal but added that it was making sure Iran was held accountable for its commitments.
Hook said: “We believe that we can work within the Iran nuclear deal to strictly enforce it while we are working on all of the aspects outside of Iran’s nuclear program.”