Dispute over nuclear agreement with iran: iran rejects u.s. Demands

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo makes twelve demands of Iran, or else face tough sanctions. Criticism of this is now also coming from the EU.

The U.S. demands that Iran also renounce civilian uranium enrichment Photo: dpa

Iran has sharply rejected the twelve far-reaching ultimate demands and sanctions threats that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed to the leadership in Tehran on Monday. There was also strong criticism from Germany and the EU.

In a speech to the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation in Washington on Monday, Pompeo had demanded that the international nuclear agreement with Iran, from which U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in early May, be replaced by a new one. In contrast to the current treaty, which has a term of 25 years, a new agreement would have to apply indefinitely and grant International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors completely unrestricted access not only to nuclear facilities, but to all of Iran’s military installations.

In addition, he said, Tehran should completely abandon enrichment of uranium-even that for nonmilitary purposes of energy supply and medical care.

In addition, the U.S. secretary of state demanded that a new agreement prohibit Iran from developing ballistic missiles. Finally, he said, Tehran must completely withdraw its military advisers and soldiers in Syria, cease all support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the Huthi rebels in Yemen. Should the Iranian leadership not comply with these demands, Pompeo threatened the "toughest sanctions in history."

Europeans miss solutions

Iranian President Hassan Rohani condemned the U.S. secretary of state’s speech as "unacceptable." His Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Sarif called U.S. diplomacy a "hoax." His country will continue to work with the Europeans to find solutions, Sarif wrote on Twitter. "The Iranian people must stand together and they will punch the U.S. foreign minister hard in the mouth," said Ismail Kowsari, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini complained that Pompeo had not presented any solutions. Nor, she said, had he shown how a departure from the existing agreement would make the Middle East more secure. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed similar sentiments.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD), who is on an inaugural visit to Washington these days, intends to use his meeting with Pompeo to reiterate his criticism of the secondary sanctions threatened by Washington against European companies doing business with Iran. Pompeo is unlikely to be impressed. Earlier in his speech, he had said, "I know our allies in Europe want to maintain the Iran nuclear deal. They know where we stand."

It is also well known in Washington that the regulation put in place by the EU to prohibit European companies from complying with U.S. secondary sanctions will have little practical impact. This is because the deficiency payments that the EU has promised companies in principle with this regulation could amount to a high three-digit billion sum in the event of an emergency. According to all experts, this is beyond the financial means of the EU. It is therefore more likely that, after the French oil company Total, other companies will withdraw from the Iran business.

Sooner or later, the EU is likely to embrace some of the U.S. demands on Iran

This is because, according to all statements to date, the EU and its member governments do not want to respond to the illegal U.S. sanctions with sanctions on the same scale because – as German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) stated again on Tuesday – "everyone would lose" if the transatlantic trade conflict escalates.

Sooner or later, therefore, the EU is likely to embrace at least some of Washington’s 12 demands on Tehran. At least those calling for a cessation or at least a limitation of the ballistic missile program as well as an end to Iranian support for Hezbollah, Hamas, the Hutis and a military withdrawal from Syria.

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