Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Top US General Expresses Support for Iran Nuclear Deal

Top US General Expresses Support for Iran Nuclear Deal

During the meeting, the USA president allegedly said that until now, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European Union signatories to the deal, only proposed "cosmetic changes" that he did not find satisfactory, the Axios news website reported. "Trump said he demands "significant changes" in the Iran deal itself and not simply the addition of a supplemental agreement between the USA and the European countries, according to the officials".

Trump sees three defects in the deal: its failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program; the terms under which worldwide inspectors can visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites; and "sunset" clauses under which limits on the Iranian nuclear program start to expire after 10 years.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers, which former President Barack Obama touted as a diplomatic breakthrough, imposed elaborate restrictions on Iran's nuclear program while lifting an array of US and global sanctions that had damaged the country's economy.

It is unclear how Mike Pompeo becoming USA secretary of state may affect the Iran nuclear deal.

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Trump is demanding "significant changes" to the Iran deal, not just additional agreements between the US and the European nations, and said he would pull out of the deal if those changes aren't made, Israeli officials told Axios. The order was announced to deal with "the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Iran".

Iran, of course, doesn't have a nuclear weapons program, and didn't have such a program for years before the deal was made.

"On January 16, 2016, Implementation Day under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran", reads the presidential statement.

President Trump has opposed the deal from the start, and is demanding broad changes to the already negotiated pact. But analysts said European banks and other firms are already reluctant to do business in Iran due to the threat of a possible "snap-back" of US sanctions and don't want to lose their access to the vast American market.

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Other European officials and former USA officials said Pompeo's rise, if he is confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate, might have a more ambiguous effect on the negotiations and that, in any case, Trump's views are paramount.

USA military commanders and intelligence officers mostly view the Iran deal, officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a useful - if imperfect - check on Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

In the past two months, the four nations have held two talks.

The head of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees American forces in the Middle East, warned lawmakers on Tuesday about the consequences of the agreement unraveling.

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His comments centered on the deal addressing USA and worldwide concerns about Iran having a nuclear weapons program.

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