Tehran says that the worst scenario regarding how US President Donald Trump approaches the nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is that he keeps it.
“Trump may adopt any scenario, the worst of which is that keeping the JCPOA, he pressurizes the Islamic Republic by devising new non-nuclear sanctions to deprive Iran of the benefits of the JCPOA,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in a meeting where he provided a periodical report on the implementation of the deal,
“Trump is a challenge to the JCPOA… Although we are much better off than if Trump had come before the JCPOA… We currently enjoy the world consensus in favor of us.”
Araqchi went on to add that the US president is under pressure by Saudi Arabia and some other countries “to make things hard for Iran.”
“Trump is going to decide to extend or not to extend the suspension of Iran sanctions [in May]… If he extends, things will be clear. But if he doesn’t, sanctions will be back, which will literally mean tearing up the JCPOA,” the Iranian diplomat said.
Trump has said he would “tear” the nuclear deal, in response to which Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would “burn it” if he does.
Under the JCPOA, Iran has the right to stop limiting its nuclear program if the deal is violated by the other parties.
The result of years of tough negotiations between the group 5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany), the JCPOA was put into action in January 2016.
According to the pact, Iran should not be put under new sanctions as long as it cooperates in implementing the deal, which is to limit its nuclear activities.
On December 1, 2016, the Senate voted 99-0 in favor of extending the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) 1996 for another 10 years. However, then President Barack Obama let the act become law without signing it in the 10-day period he could sign it. Nevertheless, he suspended implementing the sanctions for four months, after which Trump would be in the position to decide about it.