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After Iran speech, will Tehran seek to test Pompeo?

29 May 2018

Iran wants European powers to present it with measures by the end of May to compensate it for the USA decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior official said on Friday, and Tehran would decide within weeks whether to quit the accord. "What we need is a safe atmosphere for them to do business with Iran, and we expect Europeans to provide them that security".

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Vienna is once again home to nuclear diplomacy, this time in a last-ditch effort to save the nuclear agreement from splintering under the weight of President Trump's announcement that unless Iran meets a dozen conditions, American sanctions will once again hit the Iranian economy. We might see Iran conduct another missile test to see what the USA reaction will be. The Iran nuclear deal was signed between six countries in 2015 - Iran, US, Britain, Germany, Russia, France and China for lifting economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limitations to the country's nuclear programme.

"They said that they understand that Iran's normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran is an essential part of JCPOA", explained Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister.

The talks between senior officials aimed at fleshing out the package of measures to keep oil and investments flowing.

Highlighting how hard it will be, the U.S. Treasury announced Thursday more sanctions on several Iranian and Turkish companies and a number of aircraft in a move targeting four Iranian airlines.

He said European measures would need to ensure that oil exports did not halt, and that Iran would still have access to the SWIFT global bank payments messaging system.

"The next step is to find guarantees for that package", he said.

"We want them working on behalf of the Iranian people, ordinary Iranian citizens who want nothing more than to live their lives, to be able to take their hijab off, to be able to go to work and raise their families and worship in the way they want to worship".

Iranian military advisors and intelligence sharing has played key role in defeating the foreign supported Daesh (IS) and other terror groups in the country.

Washington has not only reimposed sanctions but started to make them even tighter.

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Shamkhani's response came days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened Iran with the "strongest sanctions in history" if it did not comply with a list of steep demands, including the withdrawal of all forces under Iranian command in Syria.

That seems to be the case today with Trump's policy on Iran - and it might justify his decision to link the Iranian nuclear file with all of the other files of concern to the U.S. with respect to the Islamic Republic, including its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile work, its support for terrorist organizations and the march of its Revolutionary Guard Corps across the Middle East.

"We have now a deal which is in the intensive care unit, it's dying", the official said.

In Vienna, Iran said it will continue negotiations with countries from across Europe and with China on salvaging the Iran nuclear deal.

Most analysts concurred that the United States has implicitly announced - or as cynics would say, confirmed - what amounts to a comprehensive regime change strategy against Iran which envisions tougher sanctions provoking identity-based conflict among its many minorities that could then evolve to take on political dimensions with time and the right amount of foreign support.

Iran has struggled to benefit from the accord so far, partly because of remaining unilateral USA sanctions that have deterred major Western investors from doing business with Tehran.

Some Western companies such as French oil giant Total have already said they may have to quit Iran because of the US move.

Khamenei rejected any new negotiations over Iran's ballistic missile program or its regional activities.

The other nations have all previously said they want to stay in the 2015 deal, which limits Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program. With the re-imposition of such sanctions, Iran will no longer have any incentive to stick to its part of the nuclear deal.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, which polices the pact, says Iran continues to comply with its terms.

After Iran speech, will Tehran seek to test Pompeo?