04/26/2017, 11.08

Vienna, uncertainty shrouds tenability of Iranian nuclear agreement

Iran and the main international powers met yesterday in the Austrian capital. Focus of "closed door meeting" the "respect" of the terms of the agreement. Tensions between Washington and Tehran are increasing. Iranian Minister: The United States respects neither the spirit or the terms of the agreement. 

Vienna (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iran and the main international powers met yesterday in Vienna to assess compliance with the 2015 Tehran nuclear agreement, in the face of growing general "uncertainty" sharpened by the recent allegations of the US administration.

A "closed-door" meeting, without  press briefings or statements at the conclusion. Representing the Islamic Republic there was Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, who stated that Tehran was "respecting" the terms but this "is not valid for other fronts" involved in the agreement, meaning the United States.

There was great interest on the eve of the quarterly meeting, given the increasing tensions between Iran and the US, signatories to the agreement with Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner returned to the issue, stating that the "review" announced by Donald Trump will analyze "the role of Iran in the region and the world." Based on these elements, Washington "will behave accordingly".

After years of embargo, in 2015, Iran obtained a partial easing of economic sanctions of the West, in exchange for the agreement on the controversial atomic program. It envisages cutting centrifuges to "enrich" uranium - capable of theoretically creating the bomb - from 19,000 and a total of 5,000. This reinforces the inspections of UN Independent Experts. The agreements will remain in force for at least 10 years. There is also a limit on uranium stocks, which must remain below 300 kg for the next 15 years.

The agreement was welcomed by a majority of the international community, except for some critical positions, including Israel and the US Congress. The United States has maintained a number of sanctions because pf Tehran's ballistic missile program, as well as support for [armed] Shiite movements in the Middle East. Among them Hezbollah in Lebanon, the government of Damascus in Syria and the Houthi "rebels" in Yemen.

Among the various measures in place, there is also the freezing of billions of dollars of Iranian bonds, moved during the era of the last Shah of Persia Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and Tehran wants them back.

Washington, however, continues to block the use of the dollar in banking transactions, stopping new economic contracts established after the nuclear agreement. Hence Tehran's decision in June to denounce the United States at the International Court of Justice, for "misappropriation" of nearly two billion dollars.

The White House continues to consider the Islamic Republic a nation that "sponsors" state terrorism and the rise of Trump's presidency, after Barack Obama's attempts to restore relations, marked a new escalation of tension. For US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the deal does not focus on "the goal of an Iran without nuclear power" and is a way to "buy" Tehran's "short-term" cooperation.

He also criticizes the position of the leaders of the Islamic Republic, particularly in the radical wing ready to take the presidency from the outgoing leader Hassan Rouhani (among the great architects of the agreement) at the May elections. In particular, according to the radical Iranian coalition, the agreement has failed to result in  the desired economic benefits. This is also thanks to the refusal to bend of the United States, which only further benefits radicals in Iran.

Last week Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to the Trump administration's assertions, pointing out that Washington does not follow neither the spirit nor the content of the agreement. "So far," he said, "it has undermined both."

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