Iran deal

In a surprise turn, Trump offers to meet with Iran

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After months of confrontation with Tehran, President Trump said on Monday that he is willing to meet with Iranian official without preconditions and at the time of their choosing.

Just days before, Trump and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani were exchanging threats over the media.

“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump tweeted in all caps.

Rouhani responded by warning him not to “play with the lion’s tail” and stating that war with Iran would be “mother of all wars.”

His overture for a conciliation was rejected by the Iranian government: “With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialogue and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable,” said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi.

Trump wasn’t worried about the reaction from his fellow Republicans, some of which staunchly oppose any attempt at negotiation with Iran, or U.S. allies in the region like Israel and Saudi Arabia, who believe that Iran is the major source of instability in the Middle East.

“I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet,” Trump said. “If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

Source:dailysabah.com

Trump acknowledged that Iran’s economic troubles are caused by his cancelation of the Iran Deal, negotiated by President Obama. Iran’s currency is in free fall, and the situation will only get worse once the U.S. sanctions, suspended after the deal was signed, come back in effect on August 4th. The citizens have organized several protests criticizing the Tehran’s economic policies.

“They are having a hard time right now. But I ended the Iran deal. It was a ridiculous deal,” POTUS said. “If we could work something out that’s meaningful, not the waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.”

Trump hopes that months of pressure combined with the bad economy will force Tehran to negotiate and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agrees with the plan. He did say that Iran must meet some conditions before the talks could start.

“If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people — reduce their maligned behavior, can agree that it’s worthwhile to enter in a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he’s prepared to sit down and have a conversation with him,” Pompeo said, somewhat contradicting Trump on “no preconditions” clause.

Some other White House supporters also agree with the plan.

“It’s a well-timed offer made as the leaders of the Islamic Republic are facing increasingly severe economic and social crises,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Trump is saying, you want the pain to stop, meet me. If not, the pain will only get worse.”

There are critics of the plan, however. They say that Iran doesn’t trust Trump and don’t believe that he would negotiate in good faith. They also state that even if Rouhani, a moderate politician, would agree to meet with him, the scrutiny he would face at home would be overwhelming.

Even Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), one of the Trump’s biggest supporters on the Hill, seems to think that the meeting would be unwise at this point.

“You know, countries like Iran and Cuba and other two-bit rogue regimes don’t have nuclear weapons, yet. They can’t threaten the United States in that way,” Cotton said. “Once North Korea had nuclear weapons, once they have missiles that can deliver them to use, I would liken it to past presidents sitting down with Soviet dictators.”

The key U.S. allies in the Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates clash daily with Iran in Syria and elsewhere, and would be adamantly opposed to any notion of a meeting between Washington and Tehran, let alone such a high profile one that would include president of the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, issued a warning against any sort of appeasement of religious leaders of Iran.

“Those who have not learnt history’s lessons counsel us to let the Iranians subvert the entire Middle East while granting them as many financial enticements as possible,” he wrote. “A wiser and ultimately more moral approach is to pressure Iran to correct its awful behavior immediately.”

The cycle of threats and negations seems consistent with Trump’s method of conducting foreign affairs. He was also threatening North Korea, only to have a meeting with Kim Jong Un just months later.

Sparked by Controversial Fox News Article, Trump Attacks Obama

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President Donald Trump used the controversial Fox News article that was published on Tuesday morning in order to lay blame on his predecessor Barack Obama. Namely, and without any evidence, President Obama allowed 2,500 Iranians the US citizenship which is a part of the nuclear deal negotiations.

Of course, Trump took it to Twitter: “Just out that Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians – including to government officials. How big (and bad) is that?”

Jeff Prescott, a former senior director on Obama’s National Security Council, denied these allegations, calling them “absurd and entirely false.” Prescott was willing to share with CNN the immigration data taken from the Department of Homeland Security which clearly shows how many Iranians were accepted to the country and when. Over the course of years and during both Bush and Obama administrations, the numbers were fairly consistent and without any fluctuations. Prescott added: “There was no connection between the Iran nuclear deal and immigration policy.”

This article was written by Chris Irvine who is a Fox News senior editor, and in it, Irvine cited an Iranian news agency, which cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted an Iranian cleric. It may seem complicated, but the cleric was the one claiming that Obama and his administration actually provided citizenship to 2,500 unidentified Iranians as a part of the Iran Deal.

Source:money.cnn.com

Interestingly enough, as you scan through the article, near the end, you will find the network’s own commentator and former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf saying that this is completely made up. According to the story, Fox News wanted to hear from the Department of Homeland Security and State Department, but supposedly they referred from commenting. Later on, they tried to reach former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, but they couldn’t do it.

Before the Fox News article was published, the media gave this “issue” no attention. However, after Fox News, the other outlets followed, including The Daily Mail, The Gateway Pundit and TownHall with similar headlines. The news spread on Twitter as well, and Fox News host Sean Hannity was in charge of it, together with guests David Clarke and Charlie Kirk.

Before Trump noticed the story, it made its way to Fox News’ airwaves on “Fox and Friends First” that airs in the early morning. Furthermore, the story appeared on “America’s Newsroom” later in the morning on Fox News. “It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this is a case of Donald Trump parroting Fox News, which is peddling the claims of an Iranian hardliner,” Prescott told CNN.

Jake Sullivan, a former Obama official who played a huge part in the talks with Iran regarding the nuclear deal, said that these accusations are “completely false” and that Trump cannot rely on think reports and claims made by Fox News.

“What is interesting about this is that what happened is a hardline crank in Iran just randomly made this comment, Fox News writes a story on it, and then Trump tweets it,” Sullivan said on “The Situation Room.” He continued: “He had every opportunity to call people in his own Department of Homeland Security and State Department to ask whether or not this was true. And they would have told him it wasn’t. Instead, he relies on Fox News. And the scary thing is that he’s increasingly relying on sources like Fox News to get his intelligence rather than the professionals in his own government.”

Source:independent.co.uk

We are still waiting for a spokesperson for Fox News to respond to a request for comment as well as a White House official. If this is false, it wouldn’t be the first time for the president to tweet the false news. Trump is a controversial figure famous for attacking his political opponents.

Source: money.cnn.com

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Presents Europe With Demands For New Iran Deal

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The US left the Iran deal, but other parties involved are still trying to honor it. Tehran presented a new agreement to the European countries, and the new deal ‘undercuts’ America in every possible way.

Despite The US leaving Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), EU countries decided to try and save it in cooperation with the Middle East country. But, now it’s the Iran who sets the conditions in order to stay in the deal. These terms were presented yesterday by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

According to IRNA news agency close to the state, Khamenei said: “During the last two years, the US violated the JCPOA several times, and Europe remained silent. Europe must compensate for that silence.”

Some of the most notable conditions include demands that Europe protects Iran from US sanctions, that EU works on retaining and improving Iran oil sales, and that the banks of Old Continent remain a guarantee of financial cooperation with this Middle East country.

Source: www1.cbn.com

Other things named in the new agreement are related to Iran’s ballistic missile program. The new deal prohibits Germany, France, and the UK from negotiating about this subject with the US, and that they should not influence the manner in which will Iran implement activities in neighboring countries. In past America always had issues with Tehran’s involvement and military actions in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

Talking about Iran’s actions in the region Khamenei said: “We have no conflicts with regard to these three countries; but we do not trust them, based on previous experience.”

Other world powers that have signed Iran deal are China and Russia, but they have no demands at the moment. This might change in the future as Iran’s supreme leader noted that if the requests are not fulfilled his country will immediately continue with its nuclear program. During the same statement he threatened: “When we see that the JCPOA was useless, one way forward is to restart those halted activities.”

Source: realiran.org

Khamenei was very vocal in his addressing claiming that the United States failed to show “loyalty to its commitments,” while trying to overthrow his country in the process. His message for Donald Trump was particularly harsh: “The current US president will have no better fate than that of his predecessors… he will be lost in history.”

These statements from Iranian supreme leader come only days after Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State presented the world with the US conditions for a new pact with Iran. The US-created deal has terms that demand Iran to withdraw its forces from Syria and that they stop sending aid to Houthi rebels in Yemen. If these conditions are not met, Pompeo threatened Iran with the pressure of ‘unprecedented’ magnitude. Pompeo said: “The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course.”

After leaving the Iran deal, the US is planning to put sanctions on both Iran and the countries that decide to cooperate with this Middle East state. The set of measures will be even harsher than those that were lifted in 2015 when the deal was signed. This puts Europe in a tough position having to choose between working with the US or Iran.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

The Main Threat For The US In The Middle East Is Not Iran; It’s Russia!

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The news that the US left the Iran deal was felt around the world like an earthquake. It brought out many questions, with one of them being will the Israel and Iran start an all-out war? The move is considered a catastrophe from the stance of foreign policy, and now the US must deal with the threat that Russia could further expand its influence in the Middle East.

Donald Trump’s decision to leave the agreement is similar to what Britain did with EU exit. It is a decision that affects the entire world. Like we said, Iran and Israel are closer to war with every passing day. This conflict could change the present and the future of the entire region, and not for the better.

The most significant change that occurred, and that is something Trump’s administration won’t admit, is that the US is no longer the most influential player in the Middle East; It’s Russia! With recent development, Moscow increased their authority in this region.

Of course, we all know there’s something more to this country than just matryoshka nestingdolls and vodka. Russia is one of the most powerful countries in the world. You would expect them to have at least a little influence on everything that goes on in this planet.

America is focused solely on the Iran deal, which can already be considered a dead agreement, missing their primary conflict. It’s not with Iran or with the Middle East as a region; it is with Russia. If the US doesn’t start dealing with this threat, it will lose much more than with cancelation of the deal, and it will be a catastrophe for the foreign policy.

Source: www.newsweek.com

At this moment the conflict between Israel and Iran seems inevitable. Israeli doesn’t want Iranian troops in Syria, while this is exactly what Iran wants in order to be the regions most powerful country. The smaller fights already started, the moment the US left the Iran deal.

Because of this development, America’s influence in the Middle East dropped in favor of Moscow. At the moment Putin has more control over this region than Trump. It can be seen through their actions when tensions in this region started to escalate. When Israeli F-16 fighter was shot down over Syria, Russia was the one who told them to calm down. The same happened when Iran lost seven soldiers to Israel attacks. Moscow was the one who told Israel to cease air strikes on Syria and one who calmed down Netanyahu when Iran became aggressive after the US left the nuclear deal. Russia is the central player in the Middle East, even if the US doesn’t want to admit it.

It will not come as a surprise if Israel accepts Russian aid in dealing with Iran. Yes, Tehran and Moscow are allies, but if what all parties involved want is peace, Russia can help them; the US no longer has this power. Many believe that Israeli/American ties are too deep to be cut off by Kremlin. But, Israel/Russia bond is equally deep. Just remember back in the 1990s more than 1 million Jews went from Russia to Israel. This was 20% of their population back in the day.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com

The second language in Israel is not English; it’s Russian! You have airlines flights from Israel to Moscow twice a day, and Netanyahu started spending more time with Putin than he is with Trump. Also, the rift between Israeli and American Jews is becoming more profound. For example, Natalie Portman decided to boycott 2018 Genesis Prize which is also known as Jewish Nobel Prize after showing support to Palestinians and criticizing the way they are treated by Israel. She is only one person in a see of people who share her sentiment.

The US leaving the Iran deal hasn’t only made Tehran its enemy once again, it brought out Russia as their biggest threat. Moscow is steadily becoming a leading player on the world’s battleground while Washington stands and does nothing.

Source: www.jpost.com

What America needs to do is to lower the Russian influence in the region. What they should do is not another Cold War, but more of collecting back its allies one by one, starting with Turkey. The next in line should be Egypt and Lebanon. They should broaden their influence similarly to what Kremlin is doing right now. The US needs to regain its role as the peacemaker in the Middle East. The part that Moscow is playing at the moment, and they are doing it with a long-lasting American friend, Israel.

Instead of destroying its foreign policy, the US should do that to Russia. They must gather their allies and make a push of decreasing Kremlin influence by making them deal with internal affairs. This shouldn’t be hard to do considering the levels of corruption, and lack of human rights that exist in both Russia and their puppet states from where they are pulling all of their influence.

Source: www.cnbc.com

This Is How Europe Can Block Trump Actions

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The US exited Iran deal, and the sanctions they will impose on this Middle East country could harm European companies. But EU could try and use a tool that worked well for them in the 90s in a situation similar to this.

America’s exit from Iran deal wasn’t graceful, and President Trump threatened that he would use the sanctions to make Europe follow him. So, Trump didn’t only violate a multilateral agreement, which the rest of the signatories intend to honor, his administration also wants to impact European business in that country. POTUS also mentioned that he plans to impose harmful trade tariffs on EU if they fail to oblige. If this happens, a trade war is imminent. Also, Europe will be between a rock and a hard place in their attempt to retain its sovereignty while not further damaging trans-Atlantic alliance in the process.

After Trump announced that America exited Iran deal, his administration said that the set of sanctioning measures would be imposed in Iran, and that same awaits any countries that continue to trade with Iran. The US ambassador in Germany tweeted that German companies should cease all trade affairs with Iran immediately.

Source: www.dw.com

Upon these threats Germany’s economy minister, Peter Altmaier said that German government was “ready to talk to all the companies concerned about what we can do to minimize the negative consequences of the U.S. withdrawal.” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was harsher in his response by saying: “The international reach of U.S. sanctions makes the U.S. the economic policeman of the planet and that is not acceptable.” At the moment of writing of this article, Iran and EU are working on a plan that will allow Iran to sell Oil and Gas and protect European companies at the same time.

After Trump removed the US from the deal, there are two paths that the Old Continent can take. The first one is to accept the US leaving the agreement but to work on economic issues that will arise. Europe needs to make sure that their companies operating in Iran won’t be penalized by America.

The second path would be to be aggressive towards the US and to reinstate the ‘blocking regulation’ which hasn’t been used in more than 20 years. The primary goal of this regulation is to ‘abolish restrictions on international trade.’ The last time it was imposed was in 1996 when President Bill Clinton turned Iran and Libya Sanctions Act and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act to law. At the time this was against EU interests, and Europe acted on behalf of its security and economy.

Source: www.vox.com

This act was called Council Regulation N0. 2271 and its goal was to protect EU companies against the “effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country.” The regulation also contained ‘clawback provision’ which essentially allows EU company to sue America on European courts in a case that their business is damaged on purpose by the US actions. In this case, if the US losses on the court, every EU company could get a refund through a seizure of the US entity on EU soil against which they had a grievance.

Source: cnn.com

But if the Trump sanctions go from Iran onto Europe, most EU companies would stop to trade with Iran. The losses they would have that way are far smaller than those that would occur if they ended their work with America. Luckily for all parties involved, Trump might be willing to negotiate and to soften his hard stance. We draw this conclusion from his recent tweet in which he stated that he’s ready to sit at the table with Chinese president Xi Jinping in order to loosen the sanctions on ZTE. This company was penalized by the US administration due to steady sales to North Korea and Iran. If Trump can find common ground with Chinese, there’s no reason he can’t get along with EU countries.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Will Donald Trump Try To Fix The Iran Deal?

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There’s a saying that if something isn’t broken, you shouldn’t try to fix it. Iran deal wasn’t perfect, but it was working. Now, Donald Trump has destroyed it, and it’s on him to try to fix it if that’s something he wants to do.

Donald Trump inherited this agreement from the previous administration, and through his campaign he often trash talked it. It was evident from the start that Trump will try to put an end to this deal that he believed is not preventing Iranians from building nuclear weapons. He also was adamant that the US should not help Iran economically at all. Despite not being perfect, agreement prevented this Middle East country from developing an atomic bomb, and inspectors believe that they can’t achieve that goal before 2030.

The agreement was signed between Iran President Hassan Rouhani and at the time the US President Barack Obama. Both Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry knew at the time that the deal is not to be permanent and that it will be revisited in the feature. But, at that moment it was better than no deal or possible military intervention.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Even with this agreement Iran’s path to nuclear arsenal wasn’t permanently closed. They were allowed to build nuclear industrial bases, and it was no secret that they kept all of the information on their bomb-making work. Israeli intelligence believes that they continued their work only behind the curtains and with reduced resources. They did this even after the signing the deal that should guarantee that they won’t be pursuing nuclear weapons.

It was evident that Iran as a country, after the agreement, won’t be entirely focused on developing an atomic bomb, but part of the focus will remain on that field. Because of this, some of Trump’s critics are on the spot. Before leaving the agreement, Trump administration tried to convince European countries to try and fix its flaws. Also, they wanted to have British, German, and French authorities on their side in order to prevent Iran activities in the region and to put sanctions on their ballistic missiles program.

But, Europeans believed that Iran respected the deal and that the sign that they did this is the fact that they can’t develop any nuclear warhead equipped missiles until 2030 according to nuclear inspectors. With the contract expiring in 2025 Europe believed that the deal could be renegotiated closer to that date rather than brake it now.

Source: www.express.co.uk

Another agenda that Trump is trying to push here is the regime change in Iran. The current president doesn’t have complete support and America believes that economic sanctions could turn the people away from the current regime. But, even if this doesn’t happen, Trump thinks that this way Iran could be ready to sign a new US-dictated deal. When he announced, America’s stepping out of the deal on May 8th Trump said: “Iran’s leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal … and that’s fine. I’d probably say the same thing if I was in their position. But the fact is, they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people. When they do, I am ready, willing, and able.”

With this statement, Trump looks like someone who doesn’t want a regime change but wants a new agreement with the current one. Instead of focusing only on nuclear-related issues, he addressed some of the economic ones and turned away from its allies in Europe. EU countries that signed the deal made a joint statement saying: “We will continue to show our commitment to the JCPOA, while also urging the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal.”

Source: www.dw.com

When the deal was signed, many believed that ti would fall apart eventually as they thought that Iran is going to be the one that walks out first. Now that the US has left without the support of their allies it’s hard to guess what lies ahead.

One thing is sure, America won’t have the help in pressuring Iran into signing a revised deal. There won’t be a need for a reworked deal if Iran and European countries stay accord on the old one. And it’s not only the EU. Japan and South Korea might follow the US out of the pact but Chinese, Indians, and Russians won’t.

Only days after the US left the deal the conflict between Iran and Israel escalated, with both countries launching missiles at military targets. The problems will only become graver in the future if Trump doesn’t change anything. He went away from the approach that Barack Obama had, and now it’s up to him to handle the Iran issues.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

US Could Sanction European Allies Over Iran Deal According To John Bolton

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President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the US would leave the Iran Deal and that they could impose sanctions on the Middle East country in case they don’t come to a new agreement. On the other hand, other signatories of the deal continued their support to Iran and their efforts to honor the terms. Now it seems that Trump might take this to a whole new level and sanction its European allies in case they decide to continue trading with Iran.

Source:theguardian.com.au

In an interview, Bolton was asked about policy towards Europe as France, U.K., and Germany decided to stay in the deal, and if it is possible to somehow punish those countries. As a part of the answer, National Security Adviser told that POTUS clearly said that “countries that continue to deal with Iran could face U.S. sanctions.” He continued by adding “Europeans are going to face the effective U.S. sanctions, already are really, because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves U.S. technology, for which the licenses will not be available.”

It was noted by Bolton that Iran has increased their military activity all over the Middle East and that they have the protection of nuclear deal that allows them to avoid any sanctions for such behavior. He continued by giving examples of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, all where Iran regular army or terrorists supported by their government have been involved.

National Security Adviser was asked to give details on which parts of the agreement did Hassan Rouhani and his office violate as both inspectors and European allies are suggesting that there were no violations. Here is what Bolton responded: “Well, the inspectors don’t know everything. You can’t say honestly that Iran didn’t violate the deal because we don’t have adequate inspections.” It was also added that the biggest problem with this agreement that was signed by Barack Obama was that “we have never had an adequate declaration from Iran of their prior military activities in connection with the nuclear program … That just violates every precept of sound arms control negotiation.”

Source:theguardian.com.au

Another problem here is that the US and inspectors didn’t have adequate access to various military facilities that could also house further nuclear program development. The main goal of Trump is to get a new deal with Iran, and the US might even consider imposing sanctions on European allies that would continue to work with the Middle East country.

Source: abcnews.go.com

Putin And Erdogan Condemn Trump For Leaving Iran Deal

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During a telephone call on Thursday, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan agreed that the move to step out of Iran deal was wrong on the US part. The news was shared by a Turkish source close to the president.

The second subject of their conversation was the escalation of tensions in Syria, which started immediately after America’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear agreement.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump said that the deal might have lowered Iran’s chances to create nuclear weapons, but it didn’t remove its threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East. The deal was signed in 2015, and since then, Iran’s nuclear facilities were monitored by European and American nuclear inspectors.

On May 9th this year, Trump pulled the US from the deal while at the same time imposing sanctions on this Middle East country. America is alone in this move as European allies want to honor the agreement, believing that the manner in which the US pulled out could cause a crisis in this region, and even lead to another war.

Source: www.okayplayer.com

The agreement was imagined as a mean to prevent Iran from collecting enriched uranium which would, in the long run, stop them from creating an atomic bomb. In return, The US would reduce the sanctions on Iran and help them economically. Trump talked down the deal signed by Barack Obama calling it ‘disastrous’ and ’embarrassment.’ In addition to stepping out of the agreement, POTUS plans on imposing harsh sanctions on Iran once again. Every country that tries to aid Iran in making atomic weapons will receive the same treatment.

His explanation for leaving the deal is the following: “At the point when the US had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash, a great embarrassment to me as a citizen. If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.”

Despite the US leaving the pact, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that his country plans on honoring the deal if all of the other nations that signed it continue to show commitment to it. In addition to America, Germany, and France other world powers that signed the agreement include China and Russia both of which intend to respect the terms.

Source: www.dnaindia.com