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US NewsThe Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal

09:55  10 may  2019
09:55  10 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

Pyongyang confirms weapons tests as nuclear talks stall

Pyongyang confirms weapons tests as nuclear talks stall North Korea has confirmed that it tested multiple long-range rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons, in addition to releasing images suggesting that the regime had conducted its first short-range ballistic missile test since August 2017. © ASSOCIATED PRESS This Saturday, May 4, 2019, photo provided on Sunday, May 5, 2019, by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observing tests of different weapons systems, in North Korea. State media released the pictures that showed Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, overseeing the tests, which occurred on Saturday morning.

Isolated, embattled North Korea is the only country to test nuclear weapons in almost 20 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Given the controversy surrounding a recent nuclear agreement reached with Iran , it's worth considering exactly how the deal to stop its nuclear ambitions fell apart.

The Iran nuclear deal framework was a preliminary framework agreement reached in 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and a group of world powers: the P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France

The Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal © Official Iranian President website / Handout via Reuters

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The 2015 Iran deal is dying—not with a bang, but with a series of whimpers. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement featured at its center a simple bargain: Iran would agree to verifiable limits on its civil nuclear program given past concerns about nuclear weaponization; in exchange, Tehran would receive economic relief from sanctions related to its nuclear activities. The agreement lasted in that form until last year, when the Trump administration announced that the United States would stop complying with its commitments under the agreement, reimpose sanctions on both Iran and, eventually, those who do business with the Islamic Republic.

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Sultan of Brunei says he will NOT enforce the death penalty for gay sex after widespread backlash led by celebrities including Elton John and George Clooney Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (pictured) has said he will not enforce the death penalty for gay sex following a global backlash led by celebrities such as Sir Elton John and George Clooney. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has reacted to the outcry which was sparked when he rolled out an interpretation of Sharia law on April 3 to punish sodomy, adultery and rape with death. The small South East Asian country had consistently defended its right to implement the laws - elements of which were first adopted in 2014 and was being rolled out in phases.

Under an interim nuclear deal agreed in 2013, Iran agreed not to commission or fuel the reactor. Under the JCPOA, Iran said it would redesign the reactor so Iran also agreed to the continuation of the UN arms embargo on the country for up to five years, although it could end earlier if the IAEA is satisfied

The Iranians consider their slow nuclear buildup a form of reverse pressure on Mr. Trump, in response to the sanctions. “Our foreign policy has been very pragmatic in the past twenty years,” said Gheis Ghoreishi, an Iranian foreign policy expert who has advised Iran ’s foreign ministry on the country’s

Video: The Real Deal with Iran, Global Oil Inventories (Bloomberg)

Exactly one year to the day since President Trump’s declaration, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced a phased set of measures that would suspend some of Iran’s commitments under the agreement, while underscoring that Tehran remained within the JCPOA. He said Tehran would immediately stop observing limits on building up its domestic stockpiles of low-enriched uranium—the kind suitable for reactor use, but not weaponization—and heavy water. After a 60-day period, unless the other signatories of the accord—Britain, France, Germany (the so-called E-3), China, and Russia—managed to deliver on economic benefits in the oil and banking sectors, Tehran would suspend further compliance with sections of the JCPOA, Rouhani added.

After Trump invite, Iran commander says: No talks with US

After Trump invite, Iran commander says: No talks with US Thousands of Iranians have rallied after Friday prayers in support of the country's leaders, chanting traditional anti-U.S. slogans of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." The demonstrators burned U.S. flags and some threw fake punches at a protester wearing a Trump costume mask. The Trump administration has not offered specific details of the threat allegedly presented by Iran that prompted the U.S. to dispatch the aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Mideast. © Getty B-52 bomber (file photo) The B-52 bombers arrived at an American air base in Qatar, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged Friday.

What is the Iran nuclear deal ? Key questions and answers about the deal and its future. John Fritze. Supporters of the agreement, including members of the Obama administration who negotiated it, said the deal was the best option to slow Iran ’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Iraqi parliament votes to expel US-led troops, while hundreds of thousands march in Iran .

The Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal © getty Donald J. Trump signs a National Security Presidential Memorandum as he announces the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Rouhani’s announcement implicitly made clear recent developments that forced Tehran’s hands. On May 3, a State Department statement said that the U.S. would sanction any individuals or entities involved with the JCPOA-permitted uranium swaps (allowing Iran to send enriched uranium out of its borders in exchange for natural uranium). The statement also noted that the storage of heavy water in excess of current limits would not be permitted by the United States nor should “any such heavy water … be made available to Iran in any fashion.”

In effect, however expensive continued compliance with the deal might have gotten for Iran after the Trump administration reimposed sanctions last year, the U.S. had now sought to change the very terms of compliance—even though it is no longer party to the pact. The remaining countries, try as they might, have been unable to present Iran with a sufficiently robust solution that would work around the reimposed sanctions.

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French envoy visits Tehran as Rouhani warns UK tanker seizure will have repercussions.

Iranian lawmakers shouted " death to America" and set fire to a paper U.S. flag during angry scenes at the country's parliament in Tehran, a day after President Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal . The protest came as Iranian officials, including parliament speaker Ali Larijani and President Hassan

The Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal © getty Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the public on Iranian state TV Broadcast in Tehran As a result, Rouhani’s decision to underscore that at the end of the 60-day period Tehran might overshoot existing heavy water and low-enriched uranium limits precisely conveys to the E3, Russia, and China where the blame for its decision should rest: with the United States. Make no mistake: These steps announced by Rouhani would measurably degrade the nonproliferation effectiveness of the JCPOA and, over time, breaking the enriched uranium stockpile limit in particular would serve to shorten Tehran’s breakout time to a single weaponized nuclear device, if a political decision to pursue that path were to be made. Because all the remaining parties to the agreement would seek to avoid that outcome, Iran may hope it is creating the right set of incentives for the E3, Russia, and China to independently seek a rollback from the United States.

The E3+2 remain committed to preserving the JCPOA as agreed in 2015. However, where Iran may have miscalculated in an attempt to increase the urgency with which the remaining parties react is what it said will come after the 60-day period. Rouhani announced that should the remaining parties fail to fulfill their commitments to Iran—specifically on oil and banking, two areas hardest hit by last year’s U.S. sanctions—Tehran would also cease observing JCPOA limits of enrichment levels and roll back modernization of the heavy water IR-40 reactor at Arak. These measures raise the greatest proliferation concern and Iran’s following through on them would take the JCPOA past a point of no return. Most importantly, if the International Atomic Energy Agency were to find Iran in violation of these commitments, the E3+2 may find it difficult to avoid a referral to the UN Security Council to “snap back” pre-2015 nuclear sanctions on Iran. This was always intended to serve as a measure to punish Iran for noncompliance; its use would be agnostic to the reasons why Tehran chose to abjure its commitments. Moreover, the Trump administration would get a vote given the U.S. seat at the Security Council.

Iran's supreme leader makes uranium enrichment threat

Iran's supreme leader makes uranium enrichment threat Iran's supreme leader has issued a veiled threat in the same speech in which he stated that "no one is seeking war," saying it wouldn't be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels amid rising tensions with the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, meanwhile, ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff on Wednesday to leave Iraq immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran. Washington did not publicly provide any evidence to back up claims of an increased threat from Tehran.

“We have made clear that Iran 's expansion of uranium enrichment activities in defiance of key nuclear While Washington’s unilateral bulldozing of the accord is the primary reason why Iran is now Although European countries denounced the US pullout, they have been slow in offsetting the

Officials say EU must present credible package by end of May to compensate for US sanctions.

Gallery: Inside the Iran enigma (USA TODAY)

The Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal

In Shakespearean terms, the tragedy of the JCPOA is halfway through the fourth act—the falling action that followed last year’s climactic decision by the United States to gut any value the agreement had for Iran with the reimposition of sanctions. Even while Rouhani emphasized that the 60-day period was designed to allow for negotiations between the E3+2 and Iran, it’s unlikely that Tehran will win back the sanctions benefits it was supposed to receive under the original deal. In the meantime, while Iran seeks to make clear its actions are a reaction to U.S. policy, diplomatic brinkmanship with the remaining parties and, more seriously, violating the deal in ways that increase proliferation concerns will serve to vindicate and empower American hawks, many of whom have been counting Iran to lash out at the JCPOA over the “maximum pressure” campaign.

Tehran didn’t take the bait and announce a complete withdrawal from the agreement, but expect to see the deal’s critics, including John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, seize on Rouhani’s announcement to shore up the narrative that Iran is not to be trusted. For months, U.S. officials have misrepresented the U.S. intelligence community’s view that Iran remained in compliance with the JCPOA. Now the Trump administration will have additional ammunition to claim—with no basis—that Iran’s noncompliance is a sign that Tehran seeks to rapidly lurch toward the bomb. Preserving the verified limits on Iran’s civil nuclear program the JCPOA conferred was never a priority for this administration; instead, as Pompeo said last year, the source of Iran’s troubles was “the revolutionary nature of the regime itself.”

Foreign Office 'in crisis mode' over US-Iran tensions

Foreign Office 'in crisis mode' over US-Iran tensions Britain's Foreign Office has gone into crisis mode because of rising tensions in the Gulf between the United States and Iran, Sky News can reveal. At the moment the level of crisis is at the lower end with a small number of additional staff focusing on Iran, and additional reports being produced by officials. However, this level could be increased if the situation in the region worsens, sources said. "We are going into crisis mode," a Whitehall source said, describing it, for now, as "pretty light touch".

The Slow Death of the Iran Nuclear Deal © getty Protest against Trump's withdrawal decision from Iran nuclear. The most serious concern now is that the 60-day period elapses without any satisfying result to whatever E3+2 and Iran negotiations might occur and Tehran pushes through enrichment limits and takes steps to reverse the disablement of facilities at Arak. Given a measurable increase in proliferation risks as a result of these actions, well-known views of influential members of the administration like Bolton, and rising tensions between the two countries, the odds of a military conflict grow.

A serious crisis with Iran would not require the total demise of the JCPOA. What makes Iran’s decision to voluntarily announce a suspension of its compliance so risky is the cover it may provide to an administration already motivated by regime change animus to make the case to the American public that Iran is not to be trusted. As far as the administration will be concerned, the “maximum pressure” campaign prosecuted against Iran over the last year worked—not because it was ever meant to bring Iran to the negotiating table to reach a new agreement, but because it got Iran to begin a unilateral move away from compliance with the JCPOA.

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The Knowns and Unknowns of What’s Happening With Iran.
Conflicting signals from both sides could be read as a march to war or business as usual.

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