Less than 24 hours after formally certifying Iran’s compliance with the P5+1 nuclear deal, the Trump Administration has announced a new round of sanctions against Iran, nominally for having a ballistic missile program.
This bizarre disconnect between reality and policy was prefaced in the statement confirming compliance, during which administration officials vowed Iran “won’t go unpunished” for non-specific allegations that they are violating “the spirit” of the deal.
Ballistic missile sanctions are a highly controversial way to sanction Iran, as the UN resolution on the missiles explicitly forbids Iran developing nuclear-capable missiles. Many view this old resolution as tantamount to obsolete because of the P5+1 deal, and Iran has repeatedly noted it makes no sense to complain about their conventional missiles when they’re complying with the nuclear deal and obviously have no warheads.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif expressed anger at the latest round of moves, noting that the US has been in repeated violation of the P5+1 deal in preventing companies doing business with Iran. He noted Iran has had to repeatedly take the US to the joint commission on the deal to seek redress, and warned that major US violations could ultimately force Iran to withdraw from the deal.
That’s likely the goal of the Trump Administration’s moves, as they are very well aware that the US “ripping up” the deal, as Trump has promised to do, would alienate Europe, and hoping that if they continue to violate the deal Iran might just give up and withdraw, allowing them to shift the blame for a failure that’s still very much the fault of the US government.
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