Iran and five delegates seek to save nuclear deal

Parties Meet Amid Slim Hopes of Saving Iran Nuclear Deal

Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Former and current United Nations and USA nuclear experts focused on the technical aspects of what was a remarkably granular document- to the chagrin of its detractors - insisting that the Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), includes some of the strictest and most intrusive nuclear inspections ever designed.

More critically, it promised to impose "the strongest sanctions in history" against Iran, including secondary sanctions against governments and private companies which refuse to back the USA agenda, unless Iran changed a series of internal and regional policies. The official said that Iranian hard-line factions that always opposed the nuclear deal are now pushing for a broader reevaluation of Iran's approach to nuclear issues. This act would make it mandatory for the United States treasury secretary to publish financial reports on senior Iranian leaders that are suspected of corruption.

Those measures include banning EU-based firms from complying with the reimposed USA sanctions, and urging governments to make transfers to Iran's central bank to avoid fines.

The meeting between the signatories was called at Iran's request. But analyst Ali Vaez with the International Crisis Group says this time that one is the U.S. That won't make Trump or Pompeo very popular in Paris or Berlin, but the end result will be Iran's isolation, not that of the United States.

"Iran's missile program is completely indigenous and defensive". There was no offer to end the US policy of providing the bombs, missiles, jet fighters to Saudi and Emirati forces which have killed many thousands of Yemeni civilians.

"It's about changing the behavior of the leadership in Iran to comport with what the Iranian people really want them to do", he added.

LAURA ROCKWOOD: It may come down to the long arm of the secondary sanctions of the United States.

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Then, when the agreement expired, Iran would have been far richer, more technologically sophisticated, far more powerful in the region - and far more likely to get more advanced bombs.

European Union leaders have united behind the accord, with Brussels working on measures including banning EU-based firms from complying with reimposed U.S. sanctions and urging governments to make money transfers to Iran's central bank to avoid fines.

The other possibility would be a more radical shift.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which polices the pact, said on Thursday that Iran continued to comply with its terms, but could be faster in allowing snap inspections.

"The next step is to find guarantees for that package", he said, adding that Iran needed specifics on how that would happen by the end of May.

The ayatollah made five demands, calling on them to "guarantee the total sales of Iran's oil", meaning Europe must promise to make up for any oil sales from third countries which are cancelled because of USA sanctions.

A cynical North Korea knew only too well that in the past, President Obama either entered into agreements or avoided them based on his therapeutic notion that human nature was both changeable and essentially noble. It's not hard to imagine a scenario in the not-too-distant future in which the Trump Administration claims that since "sanctions didn't work", the only recourse is war.

And that may be part of a deliberate strategy.

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