Trump can walk away from Iran nuclear deal: US State Department

Trump can walk away from Iran nuclear deal: US State Department

Wed Dec 7, 2016 11:20AM

The US State Department has said that President-elect Donald Trump will have the power to revoke the nuclear deal reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015.

Under the deal, Tehran agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of all the nuclear-related sanctions.

During his presidential campaign, Republican Trump, who defeated his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election, had promised to annul the deal.

He called the pact a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.” He also said that the deal could lead to a “nuclear holocaust.”

On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner strongly hinted that the business tycoon can cancel the agreement if he wants.

“It’s not a formal treaty. But of course – and of course, no one else can prevent any other party to this agreement from walking away,” Toner told reporters. “The counterargument to that is: Why would anyone walk away, because it’s effective?”

Toner, however, said that the US alone cannot decide about the deal, noting that Washington is interested in keeping the deal.

“It’s not just the United States; it’s all members of the P5+1; it’s Iran – we’re all, I think, in agreement, rightly so, that this is working, that this has benefits for all the parties, and it’s in all of our interest to keep it in place.”

When asked about whether the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) is a violation of the JCPOA, he said, “What we call a clean extension of the Iran Sanctions Act is entirely consistent with our commitments in the JCPOA. And in any case, Secretary Kerry would retain waiver authority and would continue to waive all of the nuclear-related sanctions, the relevant sanctions, authorized by the legislation. And that’s what we committed to do in the JCPOA, so that – we retain that capacity, I guess, is the point.”

On December 1, the US Senate, in a 99-to-0 vote, passed the ISA, sending the measure to the White House for Obama to sign into law.

Iran has objected to the move, with President Hassan Rouhani saying Tuesday, “Even if the US president declares invalid part of the bill ratified at the US Congress, we will react to this level of JCPOA violation that has [already] taken place.”

Rouhani also said Trump “may desire many things, he may desire to undermine or tear up the JCPOA, [but] will we and our nation allow such a thing?”

Other parties to the JCPOA have already warned against unilateral breaches.

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