Trump Orders Review of Iran Nuclear Deal
By VOA News April 19, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump has directed the National Security Council to review the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program and evaluate whether suspending sanctions "is vital to the national security interests of the United States."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed the review in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Tillerson said that as of Tuesday, Iran is complying with its responsibilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which it agreed to in 2015 after negotiations with the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.
"Notwithstanding, Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods," Tillerson wrote.
The JCPOA focused on Iran's nuclear program and allegations that it was working to develop nuclear weapons. The Iranian government repeatedly denied those accusations.
Low-level uranium enrichment allowed
The United Nations as well as individual nations, including the United States, imposed economic sanctions on Iran in an effort to try to get the country to abandon any nuclear arms ambitions. Those sanctions badly hurt the Iranian economy, particularly limiting its ability to sell oil on the global market, and led to nearly two years of hard-fought negotiations before the two sides reached an agreement.
In exchange for relief from the sanctions that targeted its nuclear activity, Iran agreed to take a number of steps, including affirming that it will under no circumstances "seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons."
Iran is also allowed to conduct only low-level uranium enrichment, and only so much of it, while also shipping out all of its spent nuclear fuel, turning higher-enriched uranium into reactor fuel, and converting a pair of nuclear sites into facilities used for peaceful research.
Process set to resolve disputes
The International Atomic Energy Agency is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the agreement, and a joint commission set up between Iran and the group of six world powers has been established to address any issues that come up.
The JCPOA stipulates that if either side believes the other is violating the agreement, they can launch a dispute resolution process, the final step of which is a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to continue lifting the sanctions.
A U.S. move to reimpose sanctions could cause Iran to pull out of the deal.
"Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part," the agreement says.
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