What is Iran nuclear deal? All about 2015 JCPOA accord
The future of the landmark Iran nuclear deal is at stake today as US President Donald Trump will announce his decision on the nuke agreement. In a tweet posted yesterday, Trump noted that he would announce a decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday at 2pm (United States time).
While the world speculates the turn of events post-Trump's nuke declaration today, let us quickly revisit facts related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aka the Iran nuclear deal.
I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
The nuke deal
Signed in the year 2015, between Iran and P5+1 countries (China, Russia, France, United States, Germany and the UK) in Vienna, the accord, orchestrated by the Obama administration, called for Iran to accept restraints on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of UN, European and US nuclear-related economic sanctions.
As per the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stock of medium-enriched and low-enriched uranium and exercise strict control over its uranium-enrichment activities. The country also agreed to reduce the number of its gas centrifuges by about two-thirds for 13 years.
The deal gave the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.
US President Donald Trump has spoken against the Iran nuke accord out in the public ever since his presidential campaigning days.
Time and again, Trump had accused Iran of not living up to the deal. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made revelations about what it called 'evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme' and urged Trump to pull out of the deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is in compliance with the agreement. While senior US officials acknowledge that Iran has complied with the letter of the accord, Trump points to Iran's ballistic missile activity and regional conduct as evidence of the deal's shortcomings.
The US President had previously described the deal as "insane" and "ridiculous", flawed, "one-sided" and not in America's interest.
What can Trump say tonight?
All in all, there are a handful of possibilities of what the US President will pronounce later in the day. Trump can choose to re-issue sanctions waivers or decide not to waive them.
"Trump could decide not to waive sanctions, but announce that he could restore the waivers before the penalties for violating the sanctions go back into effect if European allies reach a side agreement with the United States," Reuters reported.
He could also decide not to waive the sanctions, and continue to sing the tale of Iran violating the deal.
Iran has warned that in the event of the United States exiting the deal, the White House must brace up for consequences and face "regret of historic proportions".
Iran could retaliate by undermining the interests of Washington and its allies in the Middle East. President Hassan Rouhani hinted on Monday that Iran could remain in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers even if the United States dropped out but Tehran would fiercely resist US pressure to limit its influence in the Middle East.
Rouhani said the Islamic Republic had been preparing for every possible scenario, including a deal without Washington - which would still include the other signatories that remain committed to it - or no deal at all.
"We are not worried about America's cruel decisions ... We are prepared for all scenarios and no change will occur in our lives next week," Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.
"If they want to make sure that we are not after a nuclear bomb, we have said repeatedly that we are not and we will not be," said Rouhani, who engineered the nuclear accord to ease Iran's isolation.
"But if they want to weaken Iran and limit its influence whether in the region or globally, Iran will fiercely resist."