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Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran

It is getting fairly obvious that US President Donald Trump is all but certain to annul the nuclear deal with Iran when it comes up for review on May 12. Negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, and signed in 2015 also by the UK, France, Russia, Germany and China, the agreement lifted some of the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran in return for curbing the country's nuclear programme. At the time of the agreement, Washington said that Iran had committed to "extraordinary and robust monitoring, verification, and inspection" of its nuclear facilities. That includes inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency being allowed to access any site in the country they consider suspicious.

The record shows Teheran has kept its word. Germany, France and the UK have urged Mr Trump to stay with the deal. The European Union says there have been "no violations". United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the agreement must be preserved to maintain peace in West Asia. Mr Trump, however, wants significant changes to the deal, including an extension of the "sunset" expiry periods for the limits on Iran's nuclear programme, or he will reimpose sanctions. Beyond his own ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an antipathy to his predecessor's every move, and that it was Mr Obama, not he, who signed the nuclear deal, it is not clear why Mr Trump wants out.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran'. Print Edition | Subscribe