In an effort to save the Iran nuclear deal, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon US President Donald Trump not to abandon the agreement signed by his predecessor, President Obama.
In a statement to the BBC, Mr. Guterres said that there is a real risk of war unless the agreement is honored.
He said that the deal was an “important diplomatic victory” and that it shouldn’t be abandoned without a solid alternative, warning that “we face dangerous times.”
Mr. Guterres’ statement came just days after Israel’s announcement that it is in possession of “secret files” proving that Iran has continued with their nuclear weapons program in secrecy, despite the agreement.
Mike Pompeo, the United States Secretary of State, has said that the files are proof that the entire deal was “built on lies.”
Meanwhile, America’s European allies and cosignatories of the deal UK, France, and Germany have repeated that the agreement is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain signed a deal with Iran in 2015, allowing for the return of Tehran to the international markets in exchange for serious limitations on the country’s nuclear program. The number of centrifuges used to enrichen uranium in Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities was reduced drastically, and a large part of existing stockpile of enrichened uranium was sent to Russia. The entire process was being monitored by the IAEA inspectors, authorized to conduct snap inspections of both Natanz and Fordo. So far, there were no objections to Iran’s compliance with the deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a press conference from Israel’s defense ministry in Tel Aviv and claimed that Israel is in possession of documents proving that Iran never abandoned its nuclear weapons program and that it has been developing five nuclear warheads, with a 10-kilotons yield each. The project was officially ended in 2003, but Netanyahu claims that it has been covertly continued and that Tehran lied about it before the 2015 deal was signed.
The accusations come in the midst of heightening tensions as the two countries continue to face off in Syria, where Iran is strongly supporting Bashar al Assad’s regime, while Israel is conducting air strikes trying to secure its northern border and prevent Iran from establishing a stronghold near the strategically important Golan Heights.
President Trump has been a strong opponent of the deal ever since its inception in 2015 and has called it “insane,” claiming that it provides a financial resource to Iran which it uses “as a slush fund for weapons, terror, and oppression” in the region. He has until May 12th to reach a final decision on the deal.
The Iranians have been adamant that they have honored everything that was signed and that Trump can’t change it unilaterally. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that if anyone broke the deal, it was Trump and accused him of “maliciously violating” the nuclear agreement.