Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’

Iran Guards Chief: Hezbollah Must Remain Armed to Fight Israel

November 23, 2017

BY REUTERS
 NOVEMBER 23, 2017 11:50

Chief Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari also had some choice words about French President Emmanuel Macron

Hezbollah

Hezbollah. (photo credit: REUTERS)

ANKARA – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards will play an active role in establishing a lasting “ceasefire” in crisis-hit Syria, its chief commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, adding that disarming Lebanon’s Hezbollah was non-negotiable, state TV reported on Thursday.

“Hezbollah must be armed to fight against the enemy of the Lebanese nation which is Israel. Naturally they should have the best weapons to protect Lebanon’s security. This issue is non-negotiable,” the television quoted Jafari as saying.

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Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran, whose rivalry has wrought upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia has accused the heavily armed Iran-backed Hezbollah of helping Houthi forces in Yemen and playing a role in a ballistic missile attack on the kingdom earlier this month. Iran and Hezbollah both denied the claims.

Jafari repeated Iran’s stance on its disputed ballistic missile work, saying the Islamic Republic’s missile program is for defensive purposes and not up for negotiation.

The program was not part of the 2015 nuclear deal with Western powers under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.

Hezbollah says future Israel war could draw more fighters than in 2006 (credit: REUTERS)

“Iran will not negotiate its defensive program… there will be no talks about it,” he said.

“(French president Emmanuel) Macron’s remarks over our missile work is because he is young and inexperienced.”

Macron said earlier this month that Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and should clarify the strategy around its ballistic missile program.

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http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/Iran-Guards-chief-Hezbollah-must-be-armed-to-fight-Israel-515038

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What Team Obama didn’t want you to know about the al Qaeda-Iran alliance

November 3, 2017

The New York Post
Editorial Board

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo has just released hundreds of thousands of documents, long withheld by the Obama administration, that were seized in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

There are no surprise revelations — but they more fully document the years-long extensive cooperation between al Qaeda and Iran that was still ongoing when bin Laden met his end.

And that raises even more disturbing questions about the nuclear deal Team Obama cut — and the real reason these documents weren’t disclosed until now.

Particularly a 19-page assessment by a senior jihadist of the Qaeda-Tehran ties: how Iran supplied “everything [we] needed,” including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon,” as well safe haven for other jihadis.

Yes, there were occasional conflicts and jealousies — but not enough to sever the relationship, which bin Laden himself described as post-2001 al Qaeda’s “main artery for funds, personnel and communication.”

The Obama White House had this information for nearly five years before negotiating the nuclear deal — talks in which it refused to address Iran’s continuing sponsorship of terror even as it agreed to provide it with more than $100 billion in sanctions relief and hostage ransom payments.

Secretary of State John Kerry himself admitted that much of the money would go to supporting terrorist groups.

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And that includes al Qaeda — which, the documents show, was very much under bin Laden’s control until the moment a Navy SEAL team took him out.

To ensure passage of the nuke deal, did Obama and his CIA directors withhold anything that could undercut their claims about encouraging Iranian “moderates”?

It sure looks that way.

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Iran denounces CIA ‘fake news’ in Bin Laden files

November 3, 2017

AFP

© ODNI/AFP/File | Osama bin Laden rehearses a speech in this screen grab from a video document declassified by the Office of the Director of National in 2015

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran has accused the CIA of spreading “fake news” about the Islamic republic with newly declassified files seized in the 2011 raid in Pakistan in which Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed.

The CIA on Wednesday released 470,000 additional files found in May 2011 when US Navy SEALs burst into Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad and shot him dead.

According to scholars from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), who were allowed to see the trove before it was made public, the files shed new light on the murky relationship between the Sunni extremist group and Shiite Iran.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, February 17, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/MAXIM MALINOVSKY)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the allegations.

“A record low for the reach of petrodollars: CIA & FDD fake news w/selective Al Qaeda docs re: Iran can’t whitewash role of US allies in 9/11,” he wrote on Twitter late on Thursday.

The release of the files comes as US President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran, refusing to certify a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Iran denies any link to Al-Qaeda and has provided financial and military backing to help the Syrian regime fight Sunni extremists and other opponents.

The Fars news agency, which is close to Iranian conservatives, said Thursday that the selective publication of documents by the CIA related to Al-Qaeda was part of efforts “to put pressure on Iran”.

See also:

https://www.timesofisrael.com/twitter-tiff-suggests-major-gaps-still-remain-over-nuclear-deal/

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CIA docs from Osama bin Laden raid suggest Iran-al Qaeda link

November 3, 2017

The Associated Press and CBS News

Osama bin Laden with his son, Hamza.

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The CIA’s release of documents seized during the 2011 raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has again raised questions about Iran’s support of the extremist network leading up to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

U.S. intelligence officials and prosecutors have long said Iran formed loose ties to the terror organization from 1991 on, something noted in a 19-page report in Arabic that was included in the release of some 47,000 other documents by the CIA.

For its part, Iran has long denied any involvement with al Qaeda. However, the report included in the CIA document dump shows how bin Laden, a Sunni extremist from Iran’s archrival Saudi Arabia, could look across the Muslim world’s religious divide to partner with the Mideast’s Shiite power to target his ultimate enemy, the United States.

“Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support him and help him with their frank and clear rhetoric,” the report reads.

The Associated Press examined a copy of the report released by the Long War Journal, a publication backed by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank fiercely critical of Iran and skeptical of its nuclear deal with world powers. The CIA gave the Long War Journal early access to the material.

The material also included never-before-seen video of bin Laden’s son Hamza, who may be groomed to take over al Qaeda, getting married. It offers the first public look at Hamza bin Laden as an adult. Until now, the public has only seen childhood pictures of him.

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Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, in a still from video of his wedding. The video was found in a trove of files seized during the 2011 raid that killed the al Qaeda leader at his compound in Pakistan, and was released by the CIA in 2017.

The release comes as President Donald Trump has refused to recertify Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and faces domestic pressure at home over investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The 19-page report included in the CIA release was available online Wednesday. The CIA later issued a warning about the files on its website, saying that since the material “was seized from a terrorist organization … there is no absolute guarantee that all malware has been removed.” The CIA then took down the files entirely early Thursday, saying they were “temporarily unavailable pending resolution of a technical issue.”

“We are working to make the material available again as soon as possible,” the CIA said.

The unsigned 19-page report is dated in the Islamic calendar year 1428 – 2007 – and offers what appears to be a history of al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran. It says Iran offered al Qaeda fighters “money and arms and everything they need, and offered them training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in return for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia.”

This coincides with an account offered by the U.S. government’s 9/11 Commission, which said Iranian officials met with al Qaeda leaders in Sudan in either 1991 or early 1992. The commission said al Qaeda militants later received training in Lebanon from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which Iran backs to this day.

U.S. prosecutors also said al Qaeda had the backing of Iran and Hezbollah in their 1998 indictment of bin Laden following the al Qaeda truck bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Al Qaeda’s apparent siding with Iran may seem surprising today, given the enmity Sunni extremists like those of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have for Shiites.

But bin Laden had run out of options by 1991 — the one-time fighter against the Soviets in Afghanistan had fallen out with Saudi Arabia over his opposition to the ultraconservative kingdom hosting U.S. troops during the Gulf War. Meanwhile, Iran had become increasingly nervous about America’s growing military expansion in the Mideast.

“The relationship between al Qaeda and Iran demonstrated that the Sunni-Shiite divisions did not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier to cooperation in terrorist operations,” the 9/11 Commission report would later say.

Before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, Iran would allow al Qaeda militants to pass through its borders without receiving stamps in their passports or with visas gotten ahead of time at its consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, according to the 19-page report. That helped the organization’s Saudi members avoid suspicion. They also had contact with Iranian intelligence agents, according to the report.

This also matches with U.S. knowledge. Eight of the 10 so-called “muscle” hijackers on Sept. 11 — those who kept passengers under control on the hijacked flights — passed through Iran before arriving in the United States, according to the 9/11 Commission.

However, the commission “found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.”

For its part, Iran has denied having any relationship with al Qaeda since the 1998 attacks on the embassies. Iran quietly offered the U.S. assistance after the Sept. 11 attacks, though relations would sour following President George W. Bush naming it to his “axis of evil” in 2002.

On Thursday, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, dismissed the CIA documents as “a project against Tehran.”

The 19-page report describes Iranians later putting al Qaeda leaders and members under house arrest sometime after the Sept. 11 attacks. It mentions the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, saying it put increasing pressure on Iran, especially with the rise of al Qaeda in Iraq.

“They decided to keep our brothers as a card,” the report said.

That would come true in in 2015 as Iran reportedly exchanged some al Qaeda leaders for one of its diplomats held in Yemen by the terror group’s local branch. While Yemen described it as a captive exchange, Tehran instead called it a “difficult and complicated” special operation to secure the Iranian diplomat’s freedom from the “hands of terrorists.”

“The repercussions … of the Sept. 11 attacks were undoubtedly very large and perhaps above (our) imagination,” the al Qaeda report said.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-osama-bin-laden-al-qaeda-before-september-11-terror-attacks-cia-documents/

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CIA documents ‘conclusive proof of Al-Qaeda-Iran ties’

November 3, 2017

Osama bin Laden’s house in Pakistan, from where the documents were seized, being demolished on Feb. 26, 2012. (AFP)

JEDDAH: Wednesday’s release by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of documents seized during the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden has “conclusively proved” the terror chief’s cosy relationship with Iran, experts say.

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US intelligence officials and prosecutors have long said Iran formed loose ties to Al-Qaeda from 1991 onward.
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This was noted in a 19-page report in Arabic that was included in the release of some 47,000 other documents by the CIA.
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Iran has long denied any involvement with Al-Qaeda, but the report included in the CIA document dump shows how Bin Laden partnered with Tehran to target the US.
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The Associated Press (AP) examined a copy of the report released by the Long War Journal, a publication backed by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank fiercely critical of Iran and skeptical of its nuclear deal with world powers. The CIA gave the Long War Journal early access to the material.
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“Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support him and help him with their frank and clear rhetoric,” AP quotes the report as saying.
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The unsigned report is dated in the Islamic calendar year 1428 (2007), and offers what appears to be a history of Al-Qaeda’s relationship with Iran.
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It says Iran offered Al-Qaeda fighters “money and arms and everything they need, and offered them training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in return for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia.”
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This coincides with an account offered by the US government’s 9/11 Commission, which said Iranian officials met with Al-Qaeda leaders in Sudan in either 1991 or early 1992.
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The commission said Al-Qaeda militants later received training in Lebanon from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
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US prosecutors also said Al-Qaeda had the backing of Iran and Hezbollah in their 1998 indictment of Bin Laden following Al-Qaeda’s truck bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
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Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said the documents provide for the first time direct evidence of the symbiotic relationship between Al-Qaeda’s most senior operatives and Tehran.
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“Without Iranian support and safe haven, Al-Qaeda as an organization couldn’t have endured for as long as it did following the international backlash it faced after the 9/11 terror attacks,” Shahbandar told Arab News.
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“That Bin Laden was personally involved in establishing Al-Qaeda’s network in Iran shows how shrewd and cynical the regime in Tehran truly is, and how capable and willing it is to support international extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and its successor Daesh.”
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Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh said he is not surprised by the damning revelations.
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“There has long been strong evidence showing the connection between Tehran and Al-Qaeda, including the fact that the Iranian regime has sheltered Al-Qaeda leaders,” he told Arab News.
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“Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism. Its regime supports, funds, arms and trains any terrorist group that shares its revolutionary values, such as anti-Americanism and pursuing hegemonic ambitions in the region,” he said.
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“As a US federal judge found, Iran was a key player in facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The US should’ve confronted the Iranian regime, not Iraq,” Rafizadeh added.
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“The US should hold the Iranian regime, and those leaders who helped facilitate the 9/11 attacks, accountable through various means such as sanctioning them, bringing them to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and isolating them.”
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On Thursday, the semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), dismissed the CIA documents as “a project against Tehran.”
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Is There a Way To Get Tough on Iran Without Leaving The Nuclear Deal?

October 19, 2017
BY EMILY B. LANDAU
 OCTOBER 19, 2017 15:30
There are important elements in the administration’s new policy that may reverse some of the negative aspects of the JCPOA, and set the stage for pushing back on Iran’s regional provocations.

Getting tough on Iran without leaving the nuclear deal

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump speaks about Iran and the nuclear accord at the White House on Friday. (photo credit:REUTERS)

On October 13, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify the JCPOA, in contrast to his previous two decisions to certify the deal. Instead, he declared, the administration would work with Congress and US global and Middle East allies to address the flaws surrounding the deal, as well as other aspects of Iran’s behavior, widely perceived to be threatening and destabilizing. This position was reached following the administration’s policy review on Iran, underway over the past nine months, and outlines a new approach that began to emerge already with the statement in April 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – delivered the day after Trump certified the JCPOA for the first time – which sketched in broad strokes the direction of US policy on Iran.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the new policy is that it covers the entirety of Iran’s behavior that is viewed negatively by the US, beyond the nuclear program: Iran’s missile program, support for terror, and regional aspirations that threaten the national security interests of the US and its allies in the Middle East. In so doing, the administration has ended the approach of the Obama administration that sought to create a divide between the nuclear and regional manifestations of Iran’s conduct, claiming that the nuclear deal “was working,” and that it was never meant to address other issues. In contrast, the Trump administration has emphasized that the JCPOA did not achieve its objective of a non-nuclear Iran, and that the deal is only one component of overall US policy toward Iran. The message is that there is a connection between the different manifestations of Tehran’s nuclear and foreign policies, and that all must be dealt with in tandem in order to confront effectively the threats and regional challenges posed by Iran.

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Also of significance is that Trump signaled that the US administration will no longer refrain from pushing back against Iran’s aggressions and provocations for fear of Iran exiting the nuclear deal. In fact – in a somewhat surprising move – Trump included his own threat of leaving the deal. He stated that if in cooperation with Congress and US allies the administration cannot reach a satisfactory solution to the problems he delineated, he would cancel US participation in the deal. The specific context seems to direct the threat primarily to Congress and US allies in an effort to urge them to work with the administration to amend the deal. However, it is also clearly a message to Iran that the administration is no longer deterred by Iran’s threats of leaving the deal.

What are the main problems that Trump raised, and how will the administration attempt to fix them? The leading problems raised by the president have to do with the regime’s sponsorship of terrorism, continued regional aggression, and use of proxies, and the radical nature of the regime and its Supreme Leader. He mentioned Iran’s ballistic missile program, hostility to the US and Israel, and its threat to navigation in the Gulf. While the opening of Trump’s speech reviewed Iran’s deadly actions since 1979 and was unnecessarily detailed, this might have been aimed to underscore that Iran has targeted the US repeatedly, rendering dealing with Iran a clear US national security interest.

As for the nuclear deal, Trump warned that in a few years Iran will be able to “sprint” to nuclear weapons. What, he asked, is the purpose of a deal that at best only delays Iran’s nuclear plans? He noted multiple violations of the deal, although most points on his list were not violations per se, but rather problems with the deal. In addition to twice exceeding the limit on the stockpile of heavy water, he pointed out that Iran failed to meet US expectations with regard to research and development of advanced centrifuges. To be sure, the precise nature of Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges is an issue that independent analysts can only study from such official statements due to the problematic lack of transparency in IAEA reports since implementation of the deal, and the confidentiality that was granted to deliberations of the Joint Commission (that oversees the JCPOA). Trump also accused Iran of intimidating IAEA inspectors, and highlighted Iran’s repeated statements that it would refuse entry of IAEA inspectors into its military sites. Of particular note was Trump’s mention of suspicions regarding cooperation between Iran and North Korea; he said that he will instruct intelligence agencies to conduct a thorough analysis of these connections.

In dealing with these problems, Trump’s major constraint is lack of leverage to compel Iran to agree to a strengthened nuclear deal. The administration’s hands are tied given that it has partners to the JCPOA that are not on the same page, and that the biting sanctions that had pressured Iran to negotiate in the first place were lifted when implementation of the deal began. Clearly it will be difficult for the US to change matters directly related to the deal without the help of Congress and European allies, and Trump stated repeatedly that he will seek their cooperation.

In Europe there is fierce opposition to Trump’s decision not to certify the deal, and it is questionable whether and to what degree Europe will be willing to cooperate with the US. It is noteworthy, however, that before the speech was delivered, some European leaders – including France’s Macron – signaled a new willingness to address issues outside the JCPOA, in particular Iran’s missile program and regional aggression. Trump hopes they will go along with new sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). There is currently no basis for expecting cooperation from Russia and China.

The administration is also pinning hopes on Congress. With decertification, decision making on the JCPOA moves to Congress, and this is where the Trump administration hopes to introduce changes. Tillerson has explained that the administration will not be asking Congress to move to sanctions at this stage, a step that could lead to the collapse of the deal. Rather, the hope is to pass new legislation that will amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). The White House would like to establish a series of benchmarks that would automatically restore sanctions if Iran crosses one of the red lines – or “trigger points”; these would likely relate to Iran’s missile program and the sunset clauses in the JCPOA.

The area where the administration can most easily move forward on its own relates to its approach to the Iranian regime, particularly the regime’s support for terror and other destabilizing regional activities. This explains the strong emphasis in Trump’s speech – and in the document released in parallel entitled “President Donald J. Trump’s New Strategy on Iran” – on the IRGC, and on the need to confront it squarely for its support of terror, fanning of sectarianism, and perpetuation of regional conflict. Trump announced that he was authorizing the Treasury Department to sanction the IRGC as an entity, and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates.

Overall, there are important elements in the administration’s new policy that have the potential to reverse some of the negative aspects of the JCPOA, and set the stage for pushing back on Iran’s regional provocations and aggression. Much will depend on the ability to cooperate with allies and with Congress in advancing these goals. Tillerson’s clarifications were important in explaining that contrary to much media analysis, Trump is not seeking to do away with the deal, at least in the short term, or to go to war. The stated aim is to strengthen the deal, and restore US deterrence vis-à-vis the Iranian regime and the IRGC. The outcome, however, is far from guaranteed. This is due to inherent constraints, and the fact that while the policy makes sense, it is nevertheless a huge undertaking for a very controversial administration, and this in turn can further weaken Trump’s hand.

The author is a senior research fellow at INSS and head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program. This article first appeared in INSS Insight.

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EU rejects Donald Trump’s attempt to dump Iran nuclear deal

October 14, 2017

The EU’s top diplomat says the US can’t terminate the Iran nuclear agreement because it’s not a “bilateral deal.” European leaders acknowledge Iran poses many problems, but insist they should be handled separately.

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European diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic, along with the Iran nuclear deal’s other signatories and many of the US president’s own advisers, have failed to convince Donald Trump not to pick apart the agreement.

In Brussels, European Union officials are clearly exasperated with the US leader’s insistence on mixing a myriad of complaints about Iranian behavior with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the six-party accord signed in 2015 which limits Tehran’s ability to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini did not mince words Friday when lambasting Trump’s decision not to certify Iran’s compliance, which she says has been full, and to ask the US Congress to examine ways to add sanctions on Tehran. Mogherini was officially the deal’s mediator when it was concluded in 2015.

“This deal is not a bilateral agreement, this is not an international treaty,” but part of a UN Security Council Resolution, she said tersely after the announcement, “so it is clearly not in the hands of any president of any country in the world to terminate an agreement of this sort.”

“The president of the United States has many powers, but not this one,” she added.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later echoed Mogherini in a live televised address. “No president can revoke an international deal. … Iran will continue to honor its commitments under the deal,” Rouhani said. He also warned that “if one day our interests are not served, we will not hesitate even one moment and will respond.”

Germany, France and UK statement

Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May said in a joint statement: “We encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPOA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.”

“We stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues in close cooperation with the US and all relevant partners,” they said. ”We look to Iran to engage in constructive dialogue to stop de-stabilising actions and work towards negotiated solutions.”

No deal-breaker

Mogherini and other European officials insist they will continue to observe the agreement, reminding Iran it must do the same.

A high-level EU official speaking on background ahead of the announcement said the bloc agrees with Trump about the dangers of ballistic missiles, terrorism, Iranian-backed militias and what they see as other bad behavior, and believes they should be dealt with, but separately from the nuclear deal.

Iran's Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini give a joint press conference (Getty Images/AFP/A. Kenare)Mogherini (left) says Iran is fulfilling its obligations under the nuclear deal she helped broker

At least with the current nuclear agreement, Tehran wouldn’t have the warheads for those missiles, the official pointed out.

Now lobbying attention turns to Congress, where European outreach efforts continue, according to the EU official.

“All the other issues of concern that may come up will not be better served if we undo the agreement,” the official explained, “because the agreement takes away a very dangerous risk, not only the risk of a nuclear arms race in the region, but also of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation, which is something we are now unfortunately seeing in North Korea.”

Lack of accord between US and EU 

European Council on Foreign Relations analyst Ellie Geranmayeh says this move “has really been seen in Europe as a terrible betrayal of European allies.” While Europeans are also very concerned about missile proliferation and regional meddling, they want to keep open the channel of diplomatic initiatives. “If this deal starts to unravel,” she told DW, “it’s more likely than not to provoke activities from Iran inside the region that add to the fragility of that region.”

Erik Brattberg, who heads the Carnegie Endowment’s Europe program, says that although the EU’s reaction is obviously one of disappointment, the situation doesn’t need to be seen as “catastrophic.”

“While uncertainty about US intentions and its commitment to the JCPOA seem unavoidable in the short term,” Brattberg said, “it is at least preferable to a [complete] unilateral US withdrawal from the agreement from a European perspective.”

Sanctions aimed at Tehran may also sting EU

But things will get worse for European companies that have resumed doing business with Iran if Trump’s impulses are fulfilled. “I think there is a very good chance that US sanctions will be reapplied against Tehran,” predicts Nile Gardiner, Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. Republicans will strongly support renewing the sanctions, he said, and some Democrats may join them.

“European companies should be nervous,” Gardiner told DW. “They are playing with fire by investing in Iran, and could be hit hard by US sanctions. If they wish to do business with the US they would have to comply with American sanctions if they are imposed.”

Geranmayeh warns Gardiner may be right. “My message to the Europeans is, now that Trump has decertified, you better start planning on that contingency much more vigorously than before,” she said, “whether it’s because of a review process by Congress or because, come January, the president decides that he’s not going to renew these waivers.”

 just decertified  -here is what Europe should do:start planning contingency to salvage http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_what_if_trump_decertifies_the_iran_deal 

Photo published for What if Trump decertifies the Iran deal?

What if Trump decertifies the Iran deal?

European countries must coordinate a vigorous response to prevent Trump from derailing the nuclear accord.

ecfr.eu

With EU foreign ministers meeting Monday to discuss their strategy, she says even if the EU is united behind a position of continuing the agreement, they’d better start coordinating on how far they are willing to go to salvage the deal and how to safeguard their companies from the White House if all else fails.

Shada Islam, director of policy at Friends of Europe, could only shake her head about the developments. “This was a hard-fought deal,” she told DW, adding that its abolishment would be dangerous for the world. “This will empower all those in Iran who don’t want the nuclear agreement – is that what we want?”

Includes videos:

http://www.dw.com/en/eu-rejects-donald-trumps-attempt-to-dump-iran-nuclear-deal-saying-it-works/a-40948190

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Trump strikes blow at Iran nuclear deal in major U.S. policy shift

October 14, 2017

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it.

Trump announced the major shift in U.S. policy in a speech in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East.

He accused Iran of “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement and said his goal is to ensure Tehran never obtains a nuclear weapon, in effect throwing the fate of the deal to Congress.

He singled out Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for sanctions and delivered a blistering critique of Tehran, which he accused of destabilizing actions in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said.

Trump’s hardline remarks drew praise from Israel, Iran’s arch-foe, but was criticized by European allies.

The move by Trump was part of his “America First” approach to international agreements which has led him to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

His Iran strategy angered Tehran and put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union – some of which have benefited economically from renewed trade with Iran.

Responding to Trump, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday on television that Tehran was committed to the deal and accused Trump of making baseless accusations.

“The Iranian nation has not and will never bow to any foreign pressure,” he said. “Iran and the deal are stronger than ever.”

European allies have warned of a split with the United States over the nuclear agreement and say that putting it in limbo as Trump has done undermines U.S. credibility abroad, especially as international inspectors say Iran is in compliance with the accord.

The chief of the U.N. atomic watchdog reiterated that Iran was under the world’s “most robust nuclear verification regime.”

“The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said, referring to the deal by its formal name.

U.S. Democrats expressed skepticism at Trump’s decision. Senator Ben Cardin said: “At a moment when the United States and its allies face a nuclear crisis with North Korea, the president has manufactured a new crisis that will isolate us from our allies and partners.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

CONGRESS DECIDES

While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, he gave the U.S. Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

If Congress reimposes the sanctions, the United States would in effect be in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal and it would likely fall apart. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal remains in place.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker was working on amending the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act law to include “trigger points” that if crossed by Iran would automatically reimpose U.S. sanctions.

Slideshow (10 Images)

The trigger points would address strengthening nuclear inspections, Iran’s ballistic missile program and eliminate the deal’s “sunset clauses” under which some of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire over time.

Trump directed U.S. intelligence agencies to probe whether Iran might be working with North Korea on its weapons programs.

The president, who took office in January, had reluctantly certified the agreement twice before but has repeatedly blasted it as “the worst deal ever.” It was negotiated under his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

Trump warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”

“We’ll see what happens over the next short period of time and I can do that instantaneously,” he told reporters when asked why he did not choose to scrap the deal now.

The Trump administration designated the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps under an executive order targeting terrorists. The administration stopped short of labeling the group a Foreign Terrorist Organization, a list maintained by the State Department.

The Revolutionary Guard is the single most dominant player in Iran’s security, political, and economic systems and wields enormous influence in Iran’s domestic and foreign policies.

It had already previously been sanctioned by the United States under other authorities, and the immediate impact of Friday’s measure is likely to be symbolic.

The U.S. military said on Friday it was identifying new areas where it could work with allies to put pressure on Iran in support of Trump’s new strategy and was reviewing the positioning of U.S. forces.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said no changes in force posture had been made yet, and Iran had not responded to Trump’s announcement with any provocative acts so far.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Additional reporting by James Oliphant, Phil Stewart, Makini Brice, Patricia Zengerle, Jonathan Landay, Justin Mitchell, Tim Ahmann and Arshad Mohammed in Washington, John Irish in Paris, Parisa Hafezi in Ankara, Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Shadia Nasrallah in Vienna; Editing by Yara Bayoumy, Alistair Bell and James Dalgleish

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President Trump Refuses to Certify Iran Nuclear Deal; Asks Congress For Action — Revolutionary Guard named as a terror ​organization

October 14, 2017

President says he won’t certify that ‘rogue regime’ in Tehran is complying with nuclear agreement

Iranians walk past medium-range ballistic missiles displayed next to a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in September.
Iranians walk past medium-range ballistic missiles displayed next to a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in September. PHOTO: ATTA KENARE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump took aim Friday at the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, vowing to end U.S. participation in the landmark deal unless Congress and U.S. allies are able to deliver on punitive measures targeting Tehran’s missile program, its support for regional militant groups, and any future nuclear activities.

As a first step, Mr. Trump refused to certify to Congress under a U.S. law that Iran was complying with its obligations under the nuclear agreement, charging that the country had violated the terms of the deal. Going further, Mr. Trump said if efforts to address his concerns fall short, he would terminate the accord.

“It is under continuous review, and our participation can be canceled by me, as president, at any time,” he said.

As U.S. president, Mr. Trump has wide, long-term latitude over the fate of the agreement, but lacks the ability under the accord’s complicated terms to immediately abolish it.

Mr. Trump, reiterating his fierce opposition to the terms of the deal, announced his decision after issuing a lengthy denunciation of what he called a “rogue regime” run by radicals.

“Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime,” Mr. Trump said in a speech at the White House, adding it has “spread death, destruction and chaos all around the globe.”

Trump Denounces Iran as a ‘Rogue Regime’
President Donald Trump announced plans on Friday to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal, reinforcing his commitment to cancel the agreement if congress doesn’t act on whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Photo: Getty Images

Detailing grievances against Iran going back to 1979, the year of the country’s Islamic revolution, Mr. Trump broadly condemned the country’s rulers.

“Iranian aggression continues to this day,” he said. “The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

In his threat, the president applied a well-practiced tactic of pressing for changes in pre-existing arrangements and abandoning them if he doesn’t succeed. He has taken a similar approach to the Paris climate accord and the North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as to domestic programs such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Mr. Trump’s move on Friday touches off high-pressure negotiations in Washington and European capitals over the future of the accord, and his action drew intensive world-wide attention. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani denounced Mr. Trump’s comments in a televised speech, saying: “The Iranian people will not bend down before a dictator.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Mr. Trump’s move to deny Iran’s compliance with the deal courageous, saying the U.S. leader had “boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime.” ​

Saudi Arabia, a leading Sunni Muslim power and Shiite-majority Iran’s main rival in the Middle East, also threw its support behind Mr. Trump’s stance.

European officials pushed back, however, on his threat to scuttle the deal if his terms can’t be satisfied.

“It is not a bilateral agreement. It does not belong to any single country and it is not up to any single country to terminate,” the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini told reporters. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose countries are parties to the accord, said in a joint statement they remained committed to the agreement “and its full implementation by all sides.”

China, another party to the deal, has also signaled its desire to keep it intact, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying Tuesday it was in the interest of all sides to continue its implementation.

A law passed in 2015 to give Congress oversight of the nuclear deal requires the president to tell Congress every 90 days whether Iran is complying. If the president doesn’t do so, it triggers a 60-day process for lawmakers to weigh whether to reimpose sanctions under expedited consideration.

However, Mr. Trump didn’t call on Congress to reimpose sanctions immediately, and instead said he supported efforts of Republicans in Congress to craft legislation that would amend the 2015 U.S. oversight bill to reimpose sanctions on Iran if it violates enhanced and existing restrictions on its nuclear program.

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been working with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on amending the oversight law, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, known in Washington as INARA. Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) have also been involved in crafting the amended legislation.

Mr. Corker, despite a public feud with Mr. Trump that has spilled into Twitter posts, said on Friday that he expects to introduce the legislation in the next week or two.

What Is the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal?
Iran reached a historic agreement with major world powers over its nuclear program in 2015. Under the deal, what did Iran give up and how is it benefiting? WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains.

Mr. Trump highlighted concerns with “sunset clauses” in the nuclear deal that allow nuclear restrictions to expire. Mr. Tillerson, briefing reporters, said the U.S. envisions a “successor deal” to address those concerns.

A current draft of the bill also would change the frequency of presidential certification required from every quarter to twice a year.

The legislative process is likely to require time and painstaking negotiations. Mr. Tillerson said he hoped Congress would amend the legislation before Mr. Trump next faces another certification deadline in January, but admitted the process won’t be a “slam dunk.”

Mr. Rubio said he backed Mr. Trump’s move to withhold support for the deal and said he thought the U.S. should leave the accord and reimpose sanctions. “I have serious doubts about whether it is even possible to fix such a dangerously flawed agreement,” he said.

However, Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he disagreed with Mr. Trump’s “reckless political decision and his subsequent threat to Congress.” Mr. Cardin voted against the deal in 2015 but said Friday he backed staying in it and rigorously enforcing it.

Mr. Corker’s measure would contain what Mr. Tillerson called “trigger points” that would reimpose sanctions, for example, if Iran violates restrictions spelled out in the legislation. The legislation would set stricter limits than those contained in the nuclear accord. Mr. Corker’s office said the bill would be “effectively ridding the JCPOA of its sunset provisions as they apply to U.S. sanctions.” It will also bolster the verification powers of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog and limiting Iran’s centrifuge program.

As it works to toughen the U.S. law, the administration also will seek talks with European partners to address key concerns, Mr. Tillerson said.

Asked if the EU would be interested in negotiating a “successor” agreement, Ms. Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, said “the agreement is working, has been implemented, continues to be implemented…I would expect all sides to stick to it.”

European officials and former U.S. officials involved in negotiating the deal are concerned that by reimposing sanctions for reasons not covered by the original nuclear deal, the U.S. stands to be in breach of the international agreement, setting in motion a sequence of events that could lead to the deal’s collapse.

Mr. Trump has the power to unilaterally end U.S. participation in the deal by halting the U.S. sanctions relief that Iran was promised under the accord. Doing so, however, wouldn’t necessarily abolish the agreement, as other countries and Iran could choose to continue to follow it.

Reinstating U.S. sanctions also could lead Iran to halt its commitments under the deal if Tehran doesn’t receive the economic relief it expected. Iran’s withdrawal and return to now-banned nuclear activities would effectively nullify the agreement.

Mr. Trump has other options under the complex deal. He could say that Iran has committed a material breach of the terms and initiate a dispute resolution process ​that could lead to a vote in the U.N. Security Council. In such a vote, the U.S.’s veto could result in the resumption of broad, punitive international sanctions. However, the appearances of a U.S. move to force a vote that way would be challenging, former officials involved in the negotiations said.

Among other steps outlined by Mr. Trump, the U.S. will target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s elite military branch, which Mr. Trump said has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy.

The IRGC won’t be classified formally as a foreign terrorist organization under U.S. laws that would expose it to more punitive action, officials said. Instead, the Treasury Department announced on Friday that it is designating the group under as a terror ​organization under an executive order that was created after Sept. 11, 2001 to target terrorist financing.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said that even though large parts of the IRGC has already been sanctioned under past executive orders, the latest designation could inflict economic damage.

“This is a major course correction” by Washington, Mr. Ben Taleblu said. Besides expanding the sanctions to the entire IRGC, the administration is also issuing the order under a terrorism designation, which ratchets up the stigma for firms and individuals thinking about doing business with the group or any of its affiliates.

Write to Felicia Schwartz at Felicia.Schwartz@wsj.com

Appeared in the October 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Trump Threatens to End Iran Deal.’

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Trump Expected Not to Certify Iran Compliance With Nuclear Pact

October 13, 2017

Decision doesn’t mean U.S. will withdraw from deal; president will also lay out broader Iran policy

Trump and Khamenei

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday that he won’t certify Iran is complying with the 2015 multinational nuclear agreement and will take Tehran to task more broadly for practices ranging from missile tests to support of violent groups, U.S. officials said.

The refusal to certify Iran’s compliance doesn’t mean the U.S. will pull out of the deal, the officials added, and Mr. Trump isn’t expected to ask Congress to re-impose economic sanctions that had been lifted as part of the agreement. But it could send the White House down a road of trying to change a deal that U.S. allies still support.

Mr. Trump, a longtime opponent of the accord negotiated under his predecessor’s administration, is expected to announce his decision in a speech in which he will also lay out plans to crack down on Iran’s missile program and its support for Hezbollah and other militant groups in the Middle East, the officials said.

Mr. Trump is also likely to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s elite military branch, as a terrorist organization, a step that has been the subject of internal administration debates, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Members of Iran’s revolutionary guard on parade in Tehran.

Members of Iran’s revolutionary guard on parade in Tehran. Photograph: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

Iran vowed a “crushing” response if the U.S. takes that step.

The venue for Mr. Trump’s remarks was the subject of debate as well. Officials said they had discussed the possibility of the speech taking place in front of the unoccupied Iranian Embassy in Washington, although that plan was set aside.

Mr. Trump’s speech will mark the end of a months-long Iran policy review by the administration and begin an uncertain process under which Congress has 60 days to consider on an expedited basis reinstating sanctions that had been lifted under the terms of the nuclear accord.

The president will speak in advance of a Sunday deadline to inform Congress about whether or not Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, under the terms of a U.S. law passed in 2015 meant to provide congressional oversight.

Iranian women took part in an anti-US demonstration in Tehran last month.Photo: Abedin Taherkenare/EPA/Shutterstock

That deadline, and Mr. Trump’s decision, have no effect on U.S. adherence to the nuclear accord, unless Congress reinstates the sanctions. For now, however, the Trump administration’s move will allow the president to criticize the deal while also providing some assurances to European allies that the U.S. won’t walk away from it.

The Trump administration has been working with Congress to amend U.S. legislation that provides for congressional oversight. Several proposals for changes to the legislation exist. One draft was offered by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and another by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), people familiar with the draft said.

Some of the ideas in the drafts include expanding the definition of compliance with the deal to include limits on Iran’s nuclear activities under the purview of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and extending or eliminating the quarterly certification time requirement.

Mr. Trump last month extended sanctions relief to Iran under the nuclear agreement, and will next face a deadline to do so in January.

The European governments that helped the Obama administration negotiate the nuclear deal—the U.K., France and Germany—are preparing a formal response to Mr. Trump’s expected move, officials said.

The European statement, likely to be made within hours of the U.S. announcement, will refrain from criticizing Washington an d instead emphasize Europeans’ strong backing for the deal, officials said.

It likely will acknowledge U.S. concerns about Iran’s regional behavior and missile tests, but stress these issues, which weren’t part of the talks leading to the nuclear deal, should be dealt with separately, officials said.

As the policy review has been going on in the past several months, U.S. officials have been trying to persuade Europe to work with them to raise pressure on Iran. Europe’s trade with Iran has grown markedly since sanctions were suspended in January 2016 and dwarfs U.S.-Iranian commerce.

At the same time, the quarterly deadlines for certifying Iran’s compliance have been an irritant and embarrassment for the president, officials said. Mr. Trump has twice certified Iran to be in compliance.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, which is charged with enforcing the deal, also has determined Iran to be in compliance, a conclusion with which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed.

In advance of Mr. Trump’s announcement Friday, Mr. Tillerson has called counterparts in the U.K., France, China and Russia to discuss the U.S. plans, according to the State Department.

Mr. Trump’s speech on Friday will start what officials expect to be a lengthy diplomatic process to negotiate ways to strengthen the Iran accord, first with European officials and perhaps eventually with Iran, either by revisiting the accord or by enacting related but freestanding agreements.

Among the U.S. concerns, the Trump administration has criticized the Iran deal for limits on Iran’s nuclear activity that eventually will expire—known as “sunset clauses”—and has faulted the agreement for not addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program.

European ambassadors in Washington have spent time in recent days meeting with U.S. lawmakers to express their willingness to discuss U.S. concerns about Iran and even the agreement, but that the U.S. must first make clear it will abide by the deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron last month floated the idea of supplementing the agreement with separate pacts to “control Iran’s ballistic [missile] activities, and to govern the situation after 2025,” when the deal’s limits on Iran’s nuclear work start to expire.

Other countries also have expressed concern about the IRGC, the elite military organization that reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and has a command structure separate from Iran’s traditional armed forces.

The IRGC was established following the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and has grown to dominate Iran’s economy, with holdings in property, oil and gas and telecommunications. U.S. officials estimate the IRGC controls as much as 50% of Iran’s economy.

Mr. Trump is expected to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group under an executive order that was created after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to target terrorist financing. It would not be classified as a foreign terrorist organization under more punitive U.S. laws, officials said.

France, like the U.S., has expressed concerns that the deal gives Iran greater freedom to work on more advanced centrifuges, which would allow Tehran to produce weapons-grade uranium more quickly, people familiar with the discussions said.

The Obama administration and European partners have said the aim of the deal was to confront Iran’s nuclear program only. As part of the deal, Iran agreed to ratify a side agreement, known as the additional protocol, which provides for broader and more intrusive inspections that Tehran said it would accept as part of the deal.

—Laurence Norman contributed to this article.

Write to Felicia Schwartz at Felicia.Schwartz@wsj.com

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Activists protest in front of the White House October 12, 2017
Protesters outside the White House have urged Donald Trump to back the deal. Credit Getty Images

US President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw backing from the nuclear accord with Iran on Friday and lay out a more confrontational strategy.

The move would not withdraw the US from the deal but give Congress 60 days to decide whether to do so by re-imposing sanctions.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been consulting with counterparts in Europe and China, officials said.

Mr Trump has been under pressure at home and abroad not to scrap the deal.

Under the 2015 accord, Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the partial lifting of sanctions.

President Trump has been a longstanding critic of the deal and pledged to scrap it during his campaign.

What Trump’s said about the Iran deal

Congress requires the US president to certify every 90 days that Iran is upholding its part of the agreement. Mr Trump has already recertified it twice.

Speculation that Mr Trump might refuse to recertify the deal has caused alarm among US allies and some members of his own administration.

Defence Secretary James Mattis told a Senate hearing earlier this month it was not in the national interest to abandon it.


Analysis: Trump tries to ‘fix’ Iran deal

Barbara Plett Usher, BBC News, Washington

President Trump has called the Iran nuclear accord the “worst deal ever negotiated”, and threatened to tear it up.

It looks, though, as if he will first try to “fix” it. He is expected to tell Congress that Iran is not meeting certain conditions set by US law; that the deal’s benefits are too meagre, for example, to justify continued sanctions relief.

Then it would be up to lawmakers to decide whether to re-impose sanctions.

Mr Trump is unlikely to advocate they do so now. Even critics of the deal fear this would isolate the US and weaken its credibility, because Iran is complying with the agreement.

Republicans have suggested they could use decertification as leverage to get the changes they want.


Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that though the deal was “flawed, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it”.

Foreign leaders, including British PM Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, have urged Mr Trump to keep the deal.

Mr Trump recently reaffirmed his long-held opposition to the accord, calling it “one of the most incompetently drawn deals I’ve ever seen”.

“They got a path to nuclear weapons very quickly, and think of this one – $1.7bn in cash,” he told Fox News, referring to a decision by the Obama administration to settle a decades-long legal claim with Iran as part of the deal.

Mr Trump has repeatedly said Iran has broken the “spirit” of the deal, although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Congress agree Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement.

President Trump and Iran’s President Rouhani traded insults at the UN

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was designed to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

It lifted some sanctions that stopped Iran from trading on international markets and selling oil.

The lifting of sanctions is dependent on Iran restricting its nuclear programme. It must curb its uranium stockpile, build no more heavy-water reactors for 15 years, and allow inspectors into the country.

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