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Still from Israeli power point presentation on Iran

Trump pulls plug on Iran JCPOA deal

US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the United States will be pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and will re-impose economic sanctions on Iran.

Published: May 9, 2018, 10:40 am

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    “I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating US nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions.”

    The sanctions Trump will reintroduce are not just limiting US dealings with Iran, but will also penalize other countries. Trump’s announcement puts several European companies in difficult positions, including the French oil giant Total.

    Total had hoped the contract it signed with Iran would be excluded from the newly reimposed US sanctions, but that seemed unlikely.

    In a joint statement issued by Paris, London and Berlin (known together as the E3), warned that due to the US decision “the nuclear non-proliferation regime was at stake”.

    The E3 had attempted to introduce lighter European Union sanctions against Iran in order to appease the US and save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but their plan failed.

    Outside the E3, Italy together with other EU countries had objected to these harsh American measures against Iran as it would hurt their interests.

    France, alongside other European participants of the agreement reached by Iran and the P5+1 group Germany and the UK earlier, criticised Trump’s decision to exit the 2015 nuclear accord.

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there was now a real risk of war. Drian responded that “there is a real risk of confrontation” in the wake of Washington’s decision.

    He voiced hope that the US move would not be “a setback for peace”. The minister told French radio station RTL: “This agreement is not dead,” adding that President Emmanuel Macron would soon contact his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

    After Donald Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing from the Iran-nuclear deal, Europe’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini vowed to preserve the JCPOA.

    Undeterred by Trump’s threat to sanction countries doing business with Iran, Mogherini called the deal the property of the entire international community and not just a single nation.

    Maja Kocijancic, EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs, told reporters in Brussels: “We are working on plans to protect the interests of European companies.”

    The US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has boosted the outlook for crude-oil prices, The Washington Post reported. Before the deal, the Obama administration had urged traders and refiners to not buy Iranian oil, bringing about 20 percent cuts in purchases until more than 1 million barrels a day of Iran’s exports had been taken off world markets. Fear of a repeat scenario has been bolstering oil prices in recent weeks.

    Trump told reporters at his announcement: “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm. It didn’t bring peace. And it never will.” He accused Iran of supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East.

    But Trump immediately faced questions about his actual strategy for the Middle East beyond scrapping the Iran deal.

    Syrian state media announced that Israel struck a military outpost near the capital Damascus on Tuesday an hour after President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Multiple sources including Al-Masdar News, reported that Syria was struck by an Israeli missile attack.

    A recent poll found that over three-quarters of Israelis agreed with their prime minister that the deal posed an “existential threat” to the Jewish state. And another recent survey found that almost 60 percent of Israelis “fully approve” of the way Netanyahu is “handling the Iranian threat”.

    Reports also emerged that the Israeli military, stationed on high alert in the Golan Heights, have been given orders, along with local authorities to secure bomb shelters.

    The SANA news agency said Syrian air defences had shot down two Israeli missiles in the Kiswah area on Tuesday, the BBC reported. No casualties were noted, but a monitoring group says at least nine pro-government forces had been killed, including Iranian-backed soldiers.

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