The United States of America continues to stand firm in its decision to impose sanctions against Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the 2015 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by the Obama administration. Recently, he described Iran through a tweet as the number one in terror adding that “Iran is playing with fire.” U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and the National Security Adviser Michael Flynn also seconded this and accused Iran of what they termed “state-sponsored terrorism.”
Trump and some of his cabinet secretaries have been critical of Iran’s hostile behavior towards the U .S. which, they said the international community tolerates. The latest sanctions are targeted towards 25 Iranian companies and individuals that support the ballistic missile program and the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
Tehran recently conducted a ballistic missile test which prompted the Trump administration to impose new economic sanctions against Iran. Analysts noted that the missile test conducted in February did not violate the nuclear deal and that the U.S. will find it hard to rewrite the agreement. They pointed out that although Trump can renegotiate, all the other negotiating partners will have to give their go signal as the deal is not a bilateral one but a multilateral agreement.
For his part, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei has also issued statements that ridiculed Trump since he assumed office. In his recent speech, he referred to the new U.S. president as the “real face” of American corruption. He also called on Iranians to join demonstrations to show to the U.S. that they are not afraid of the threats. President Hassan Rouhani also supported this call.
Right now, a United Nations Security Council resolution is in place that urges Iran to refrain from testing missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear program to gain relief from economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., U.N. and the European Union.
About the Nuclear Deal
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed in July 2015 by the Obama administration. The agreement involved Iran and other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council such as China, France, Russia, the U.K., U.S. and Germany.
Specifically, this deal puts a limit to the number of centrifuges to be deployed in the next 10 years. It will also put a cap on the level of enriched uranium under 3.67 percent for at least 15 years. Iran has, so far, fully complied with these restrictions as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
As part of this deal, officials from the U.S. and other Western countries also said Tehran agreed to extend the ban on ballistic work during nuclear negotiations for eight years. That particular agreement was said to have been codified in a U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Iran recently test-fired two new domestically-made missiles one of which was a long-range ballistic missile. The country’s leaders stressed the test conducted did not, in any way, violated the nuclear pact with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution. Since the deal was made in 2015, Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles and the latest was the first for the Trump administration. As a result of that, President Donald Trump immediately sanctioned 13 individuals and 12 entities under the US-Iran sanctions authority.
Unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. do not allow Tehran access to the international banking system. They were said to be the outcome of Tehran’s support to terrorist groups such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC. This group which has 125,000 soldiers is part of Iran’s army and controls multibillion-dollar businesses in all sectors. It has an estimated annual income of $12 billion.
The U.S., however, considers the IRGC as a terrorist organization. This declaration has caused concern among international financial institutions dealing with the group fearing they may face sanctions as well. Their concern remains even after former president Barrack Obama reassured them that they can continue doing business with Iranian banks.
With Trumps sterner approach to the U.S.-Iran ties, analysts and conservative lawmakers believe the U.S. is in a good position when it comes to renegotiating the terms of the deal.