Iran Daily: Trump To Announce Decision on Nuclear Deal and US Sanctions

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Donald Trump will announce his decision on Tuesday about the waiver of sweeping US sanctions, a key part of the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, Germany, France, China, and Russia).

The former reality TV star used Twitter to preview his appearance:

The waiver of Congressional restrictions — far wider than the American sanctions which have been maintained on Iran for decades — has been a key part of the agreement, in which Iran has given up its stock of 20% enriched uranium, halted production and limited research of new nuclear centrifuges, and agreed to extensive international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Under the Congressional legislation, Trump has to authorize the waivers every few months. Despite proclaiming the “worst deal in US history”, he has done so since January 2017.

However, Trump has indicated that he is unlikely to renew the waiver by a May 12 deadline. In recent weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson — currently in Washington — have travelled to the White House to try and pull Trump back from an effective withdrawal from the agreement.

The European Union and the three European signatories have proposed revision of the deal’s terms, including extension of time limits, and negotiations for a separate agreement on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

But Trump has shown no indication of accepting the alternative, and Tehran has said that it will not renegotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or open new talks on missiles.

A “European official” expressed pessimism on Monday about Trump’s announcement:

It’s pretty obvious to me that unless something changes in the next few days, I believe the President will not waive the sanctions. And that will have various consequences that I think we have yet to fully to understand and spell out.

Iranian officials have promised a firm response if the Congressional sanctions are imposed, pointing to a quick resumption of enrichment of 20% uranium — which potentially could be enriched to 95% military-grade fuel — and development of centrifuges.

President Hassan Rouhani took a measured line on Monday in a speech in northeast Iran. Appealing to the Europeans, he said Iran will remain in the JCPOA, leading to the possibility of an agreement in which the US is off to the side:

If our goals in the JCPOA can be achieved without the United States, that’s better. Otherwise, we will make our decision….

Today we are telling the world that if you are worried about Iran’s access to nuclear bomb, we have completely allayed this concern in the JCPOA, and the deal ensures that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons.

Tehran is hoping to persuade European companies to defy the US sanctions and renew trade and investment links with the Islamic Republic. But the European firms have been loathe to do so, even under the current American restrictions, because of the fear of punishment by US authorities if they confirm ties with Iran.

Rouhani issued another warning to the US:

If they want to make sure that we are not after a nuclear bomb, we have said repeatedly that we are not and we will not be…but if they want to weaken Iran and limit its influence whether in the region or globally, Iran will fiercely resist.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added:

Quitting the JCPOA will definitely lead to the isolation of the Americans in the international arena. So the Americans will not benefit from such a decision.

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  1. U.S Treasury announces the 90-180 day “wind-down” period after which sanctions against Iran will be enforced: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/jcpoa_winddown_faqs.pdf

    After 90 days the following sanctions against Iran will snap back:

    i. Sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of U.S. dollar banknotes by the Government of Iran;
    ii. Sanctions on Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals;
    iii. Sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of
    graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and
    software for integrating industrial processes;
    iv. Sanctions on significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian
    rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the territory of
    Iran denominated in the Iranian rial;
    v. Sanctions on the purchase, subscription to, or facilitation of the issuance of
    Iranian sovereign debt;
    vi. Sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector;
    vii. The importation into the United States of Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs
    and certain related financial transactions pursuant to general licenses under the
    Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR);
    viii. Activities undertaken pursuant to specific licenses issued in connection with the
    Statement of Licensing Policy for Activities Related to the Export or Re-export to
    Iran of Commercial Passenger Aircraft and Related Parts and Services (JCPOA
    SLP); and
    ix. Activities undertaken pursuant to General License I relating to contingent
    contracts for activities eligible for authorization under the JCPOA SLP.

    After 180 days the following sanctions against Iran will snap back:

    i. Sanctions on Iran’s port operators, and shipping and shipbuilding sectors,
    including on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), South Shipping
    Line Iran, or their affiliates;
    ii. Sanctions on petroleum-related transactions with, among others, the National
    Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), and National
    Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum
    products, or petrochemical products from Iran;
    iii. Sanctions on transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank
    of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions under Section 1245 of the
    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA);
    iv. Sanctions on the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the
    Central Bank of Iran and Iranian financial institutions described in Section
    104(c)(2)(E)(ii) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act of 2010
    (CISADA);
    v. Sanctions on the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance;
    and
    vi. Sanctions on Iran’s energy sector.

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