Is the JCPOA Doomed?
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Trump's outrageous pullout changed everything, flagrantly violating an international treaty, more proof that Washington can never be trusted.
Russia and China fully support it. Britain, France and Germany so far waffled, offering rhetorical support alone, action affirming it not forthcoming so far, most likely not at all except perhaps in form too weak to matter.
China vowed to "protect and execute the (JCPOA) fully," normal political, economic and trade relations with Iran maintained.
Days earlier, Vladimir Putin said Russia "will continue to implement our (JCPOA) obligations."
Since Trump's unilateral May 8 withdrawal, no firm EU action was taken, signals mixed, sending the wrong message.
It indicated inaction, nothing since claiming an intention to invoke the 1996 blocking statute, banning EU companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran, prohibiting EU courts from enforcing them, an action never before taken by Brussels, suggesting not this time either or with full commitment.
Iran's patience is limited. On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron, "(i)f Iran cannot enjoy the agreement's benefits, it will be practically impossible to stay in it," adding:
"We should not allow that this very great diplomatic achievement be destroyed by (unilateral US) acts of violation."
Sticking with the agreement depends on other signatories fully enforcing it, defying Washington. An EU statement saying the revoking statute will be invoked in early August is an unacceptable delaying tactic, suggesting inaction, not commitment to the JCPOA.
No matter what Brussels does or doesn't do, EU companies potentially have much to lose by defying Washington, far more important to them than Iran.
A request by UK, French and German officials, along with EU foreign policy chief Mogherini, for US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to grant waiver permission for European companies to continue normal trade relations with Iran was laughable, sure will be rejected.
On Wednesday, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Arak heavy water reactor rebuilding will begin once China finishes redesigning its last phase, explaining:
"According to the timetable, we have fortunately made good progress, and the detailed stage has been completed on our part and delivered to the Chinese side, which, after their approval, will enter the next stage within 2 to 3 months, that is, we'll start the next phase of building and (installing the reactor's) equipment."
Increased uranium enrichment may follow at Iran's Fordow facility, along with installing new equipment at the Natanz site if the JCPOA collapses.
So far, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei ordered Iranian nuclear activities continuing within the deal's framework, resumption of pre-nuclear uranium enrichment coming if the deal collapses, including at Natanz, advanced centrifuge machines to be installed there.
Infrastructure work began at the facility, so far not breaching the JCPOA. Given longstanding EU subservience to Washington, the deal may collapse in the weeks and months ahead.
Trump regime toughness on Iran would surely follow - in what form other than stiffer sanctions unclear until they unfold.
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