Donald Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron, and the US leader described the Iran deal as “insane” and “ridiculous,” and the two leaders came up with the idea to make a new Iran deal. Teheran ruled out the possibility of the new agreement which made Trump and Macron come closer to a side deal between the United States and European countries who signed the Iran deal.
At the press conference, Macron stated: “The discussions we’ve had together make it possible to open the way, to pave the way for a new agreement.” He added that the new deal would stop Iran in their intentions to further develop their ballistic missiles, but it will also reduce the country’s influence in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and some other states in the Middle East.
“I think we will have a great shot at doing a much bigger maybe-deal, maybe-not-deal,” Trump added. “We’re going to find out, but we’ll know fairly soon.”
We are not sure what the new deal is going to be about. What are the changes Trump mentions? Are those changes big? Currently, media is left in the dark regarding the new deal, and so far, Trump has consulted only with the European signatories such as Germany, France, and Britain. The diplomats have a task to fix this agreement and Trump gave them a deadline – May 12. If the deal is not fixed by then, the US would re-impose sanctions on Iran, which could endanger the stability in the region, break the current agreement, and cause Iran to step out of the deal.
What does Trump Demand?
Donald Trump waived the sanctions in January 2018, but some of this will automatically be enforced on May 12 if the new agreement isn’t signed. He warned everyone involved that this would be the last time he waived the sanctions and they need to come to an agreement in this period. In the statement, Trump warned: “Either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw. This is a last chance.”
According to the US president, the European allies need to agree to sanctions of Iran’s nuclear program, and they have to ramp up inspections of all Iranian sites. Furthermore, the expiration dates are to be eliminated for the limits on Iran’s enrichment levels and “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately,” Trump said. “No one should doubt my word.”
US and Europe talks
The negotiations of the side agreement are happening at the moment, and the diplomats from Britain, Germany, and France have visited the US to discuss the matter. So far the European leaders have met with the US on three occasions, and they have had several discussions via teleconference.
America is represented by the State Department’s policy planning director Brian Hook, however, it is still “too early to tell” whether side deal will be penned. So far the two sides have agreed on ballistic missiles and inspections, but they are still arguing when it comes to the expiration dates. On top of that, we need to point out that all of the EU countries need to agree with the new agreement in order for the EU sanctions to go on, but at this point, Italy is the most skeptical and they may veto the proposal. Meanwhile, a senior State Department official said: “The President will be presented with a range of options so that he can make a decision.”
What is the next step?
On Tuesday, Trump said: “Nobody knows what I’m going to do on the 12th,” In the meantime, he told Macron: “Although, Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea,” right after that Macron stated: “I do not know what President Trump will decide regarding the JCPOA,” JCPOA standing for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action also known as the Iran Deal.
Trump apparently wants to get rid of the old deal entirely because of its “decayed foundation” and not just modify it. He added: “We’ll see also if I do what some people expect, whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations.”
What is Iran’s Response?
Iran has already mentioned repeatedly that they don’t want a new deal. Their Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said: “You reach an agreement, you keep that agreement, you implement that agreement. You don’t ask for more.” He also added: “Obviously the rest of the world cannot ask us to unilaterally and one-sidedly implement a deal that has already been broken.” Zarif also pointed out that the nuclear weapon is not what Iran is pursuing with the nuclear program.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned: “I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will firmly react.”