France Proposes Looking Into the Future of Iranian Nuclear Deal

A statue of Iranians fire fighters placing Irans National Flag in front of a Fire Station in Tehran, Iran, 20 January 2017. Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

France proposed that the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers could be broadened through “future consultations” to include the post-2025 period and tackle Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

Most of the UN sanctions against Iran were lifted after the signing of the nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which saw Iran give up its developing nuclear program for at least a decade in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives from the European Union and the U.S. However, an arms embargo and a number of sanctions and restrictions referring to missile tests, terrorism support and human rights violations remained out of the framework of the JCPOA.

Iranian ballistic missile program is framed within 2015 UN Security Council resolution, which allows Tehran to test missiles, but bans any activity concerning missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. This document exists separately from the JCPOA, therefore is not legally binding and does not offer any mechanisms for enforcing its implementation – causing a prolonged strife between Tehran and Washington regarding the “spirit of nuclear deal” and Iranian ballistic missiles activity.

Other JCPOA signees – Britain, France and Germany are also concerned with Iran’s tests of ballistic missiles, accusing Tehran of defying the UNSC resolution.

“The President Emmanuel Macron…indicated that the Vienna accord (JCPOA) could be supplemented by work for the post-2025 period (and) by an indispensable work on the use of ballistic missiles,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne told reporters at a daily briefing. “This work could be the object of future consultations with our partners.”

However, she clarified that JCPOA was “essential for regional and international security and non-proliferation,” adding that France does not want to reopen or renegotiate the accord, which is one of the viable options for the US president Donald Trump’s administration. Trump has also voiced his doubts that Iran was in compliance with the deal, requesting additional inspections of military sites in Iran, which are not part of the agreement. Under JCPOA, the access to these locations can only be requested if there are justifiable concerns that Iran is not in compliance.

Iranian officials have dismissed these demands as “merely a dream”, saying that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tasked with monitoring Tehran’s compliance with the deal, was unlikely to agree with such request. “Iran’s military sites are off limits,” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said on Tuesday. “All information about these sites are classified. Iran will never allow such visits. Don’t pay attention to such remarks that are only a dream.”

Iran has also placed its military bases off limits also because “the IAEA findings could find their way to the intelligence services of its US or Israeli foes”.

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