US not living up to its commitments under JCPOA: Author

The United States’ recent move to impose new sanctions on Iran has been condemned by several Iranian authorities and entities, who described it as a violation of the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany.

Press TV has interviewed Kaveh Afrasiabi, author and political scientist from Boston, and Daniel Serwer, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University from Washington, to ask their thoughts about the new sanctions on Iran.

Iran and six world powers signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016. Under the deal, negotiated during the administration of former US President Barack Obama, Tehran agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of all the nuclear-related sanctions.

Criticizing the latest move by the US, Afrasiabi said Washington has shown that it does not abide by its commitments under the nuclear agreement.

It is the US that is “not living up to its promises” and is “reneging” on its obligations under the internationally approved accord, he said on Wednesday night.

The US Departments of Treasury and State said Tuesday they were targeting 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks over the country’s missile program. The new sanctions freeze any assets the targets may have in the US and prevents Americans from doing business with them.

“This is a misguided initiative by the administration that can have deleterious effects on the nuclear agreement,” the political scientist warned.

The analyst further cautioned that the sanction policy will affect American companies more than others because European enterprises are determined to expand joint ventures with their Iranian counterparts.

“These counter-productive efforts by the US harm the US’ own interests, sanctioning the US’ own companies.”

A lot of small and medium European banks have begun doing transactions with Iran, but “the big banks are reluctant not because of political risk but because of punitive responses by the US government,” Afrasiabi noted.

He further said that Iran has a list of complaints not only about the spirit but the letter of the JCPOA and “the Iranian complaint is not limited simply to the missile issue and so forth but also with respect to the way ambiguous guidelines set forth by the US Treasury Department on companies doing business with Iran, which is contrary to what Iran was promised in the course of nuclear negotiations.”

Helga Maria Schmid (L), Secretary-General of European External Action Service, Seyed Abbas Araghchi (2ndR), Iran’s Vice-Minister for Legal and International Affairs, and senior diplomats from other six major powers meet in Vienna, on April 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, Serwer, the other contributor on the show, said that “there is no real justification” for President Trump to oppose the nuclear deal.

He argued that President Trump intends “to discourage doing business with Iran, which is a borderline that should be discussed in a joint commission.”

However, the academic said, there is uncertainty about doing business with Iran; so, the banks will hesitate to do business with Iran.

To solve the problems concerning the implementation of the nuclear deal, he said, “It would be much preferable … to have the US and Iran proceed to a much more general normalization of relations,” but that is impossible because both parties are not easy with the other side’s policies in the Middle East.

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