Tag Archives: Nuclear Deal

Reality Check: EU Replacing U.S. as Global Leader After Trump Leaves Iran Deal?

The president of the European Commission says the the EU needs to replace the U.S. as a global superpower because President Trump has announced that the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Jean-Claude Juncker had strong words. But is he right?

Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

“At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence…”

Those are the words of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during an address to Belgium’s Flemish Regional Parliament in Brussels. He says that the European Union should take over as global leader because the U.S. “no longer wants to cooperate” with the world, as it’s abandoning the Iran nuclear deal.

Is the EU posturing after President Donald Trump said the new U.S. sanctions against Iran would impact anyone who deals with Iran, including companies in the EU?

One sign indicating EU is posturing is talk of sanctioning the U.S.

According to Reuters, EU officials are revamping a blocking statue used by the governing body in the 1990s to threaten then President Bill Clinton’s administration when the U.S. tried to penalize foreign businesses trying to work with Cuba.

It worked, coupled with a political strategy, and Washington backed down.

Basically the statue blocks EU companies from following U.S. sanctions, and doesn’t recognize court rulings enforcing U.S. penalties for non-compliance. But it’s never actually been used, and is seen by EU governments as more of a warning to the U.S. than anything.

Now, the idea that Europe should or would replace the U.S. as global leader is somewhat silly at this point.

Through NATO, the United States uses its massive military to protect and pay for protection for 27 European nations, with the U.S. spending more than double and in some cases triple for defense.

But the underlying concern behind Juncker’s statements are the very real questions about the reasons for President Trump’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal, especially when the IAEA says Iran is in fact following the agreement.

The IAEA Director General released a statement last week stating, “As requested by the United Nations Security Council and authorised by the IAEA Board of Governors in 2015, the IAEA is verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

“Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime under the JCPOA, which is a significant verification gain. As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implemented by Iran.”

So what you need to know is that there are actually multiple story lines here.

The EU leadership posturing, stating the U.S. should no longer be the world leader—that isn’t really worth debating.

The IAEA saying that Iran is following the deal—that is something we need to pay attention to.

And finally, the biggest, most under reported story line so far—the fact that Israel is pushing this decision at the same moment that nation launching military strikes against Iranian positions in Syria.

Again, that is the question here. Is the U.S. going to be dragged into another Middle East war, this time alongside Israel against Iran and Syria?

That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it, right now, on Facebook and Twitter.

Clinton Says U.S. Should Impose New Sanctions on Iran Over Ballistic Missile Program

2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that the U.S. should impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and over allegations of its involvement in the disappearance of Robert Levinson, an American who went missing in Iran in 2007.

Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve,” said Clinton on Saturday according to The Hill, just hours after U.S. sanctions on Iran expired under President Obama’s nuclear deal.

Clinton said that she believes President Obama should not thank Iran for releasing hostages under the nuclear deal’s terms or for releasing 10 U.S. Navy sailors who allegedly entered Iranian waters last week.

[RELATED: Iran Releases 10 U.S. Navy Sailors Held for ‘Trespassing’ on Iranian Waters]

These prisoners were held unjustly by a regime that continues to threaten the peace and security of the Middle East. Another American, Bob Levinson, still isn’t home with his family,” said Clinton.

ABC News notes that Iranian officials claim to have no knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts and maintain that he is not in Iranian custody.

U.S. officials say that Levinson was working as a private investigator when he went missing in Iran, but his family says that he was working for the Central Intelligence Agency.

[RELATED: Bernie Sanders Beating Clinton in N.H., Tied In Iowa]

The treatment of our Navy sailors earlier this week was offensive, including the release of demeaning and provocative videos,” added Clinton. She said that if she is elected president, her attitude towards Iran would be to “distrust and verify.”

However, Clinton praised President Obama’s nuclear deal and called it an “important achievement of diplomacy.

According to USA Today, on Sunday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed new targeted sanctions against 11 individuals and companies who it claims were involved in facilitating an Iranian ballistic missile program.

For more election coverage, click here.

U.N. Security Council Unanimously Votes To Endorse Iran Nuclear Deal

The 15 members that make up the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of adopting a deal between Iran and major world powers that intends to limit Iran’s nuclear ability, in exchange for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

The deal, which was called “historic” by both the European Union’s foreign policy chief and Iran’s foreign minister, was settled on Tuesday between Iran, the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom after 20 months of negotiations, four target dates and three extensions.

The Hill reported that the vote “sends a strong signal of international support for the agreement,” and that some U.S. lawmakers have criticized the Obama administration for “pushing for U.N. action before Congress has a to chance to weigh in.

Reuters noted that the UN will be able to re-impose penalties “during the next decade if Tehran breaches the historic agreement” and that no sanctions relief can be implemented until the International Atomic Energy Agency “submits a report to the Security Council verifying that Iran has taken certain nuclear-related measures outlined in the agreement.”

U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power said that although the deal “does not address many of our profound concerns,” it would ultimately make the world “safer and more secure.”

Power also said that if Iran “abides by the commitments” that it agreed to in the deal, then it will find both the international community and the United States “willing to provide a path out of isolation and toward greater engagement.”

The nuclear deal, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will start lifting sanctions on Iran in 90 days, after the “respective capitals and legislatures have had a time to review the deal’s provisions,” according to Power.

While several members of Congress were irked at the fact that the U.N. Security Council was taking a vote on the nuclear deal before they had time to weigh in on it, Secretary of State John Kerry said that he felt it was their right to vote.

“I mean honestly, it’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany and Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” Kerry said. “They’re individual countries and they have sovereignty. They’re members of the United Nations and they have a right to have a vote.”

Along with Republicans in Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been very critical of the nuclear deal, calling it a “historic mistake for the world,” and saying it will not stop “Iran’s aggression.”

Beginning Monday, Congress has 60 days to review the deal’s provisions before Obama can begin removing congressional sanctions. Obama has said that he will veto any congressional legislation seeking to block the agreement.

The Hill noted that President Obama, Vice President Biden and other officials have recently begun an “aggressive lobbying push to rally Democrats,” including a “rare golf outing” over the weekend between Obama and three Democratic House lawmakers.

Iran, World Powers Reach Historic Nuclear Deal

After 20 months of negotiations, four target dates and three extensions, Iran, the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom announced that they reached a historic deal on Tuesday that will limit Tehran’s nuclear ability, in exchange for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said “Today is a historic day,” and called it a great honor “for us to announce that we have reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed that the deal is a “historic moment,” but cautioned that it was “not perfect.” He concluded, “Today could have been the end of hope, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.”

Addressing the deal from the White House on Tuesday morning, President Obama said it “is not built on trust, it is built on verification,” and that in addition to cutting off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, the terms of the agreement state that Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and will dispose of 98 percent of its stockpile of uranium. As a result, Obama said that Iran will receive “phased in sanctions relief.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told media in Vienna that although Russia and China pushed to end an arms embargo on Iran as soon as possible, “the West insisted that the embargo should stay,” the Iranians “agreed to compromise” and the embargo will be kept in place for the next five years, during which Iran will be able to import arms during that time “on the condition of the notification and the verification with the U.N. Security Council.”

Throughout the process of negotiations, the deal has faced opposition from congressional Republicans. Congress now has 60 days to review the provisions in the deal before Obama can begin removing congressional sanctions.

Obama said that he would veto any congressional legislation seeking to block the agreement and that no deal “means a greater change of more war” in the Middle East.