Friday December 6, 2019
Home Lead Story European Deal...

European Deal Signatories Criticize U.S. Decision of Ending Waivers on Iran’s Oil Sanction

The EU and the European powers also on May 4 said they took note "with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran."

0
//
Nuclear deal
A heavy water tank is removed at the Arak nuclear complex in this 2016 photo. RFERL

The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany expressed concern about the U.S. decision not to extend two waivers related to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and others regarding Tehran’s oil industry.

The EU and the three European signatories of the accord said in a joint statement on May 4 that they were troubled by the U.S. decision “not to fully renew waivers for nuclear nonproliferation projects in the framework” of the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the [JCPOA],” they wrote.

“It aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people,” the statement added.

The United States under then-President Barack Obama, along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, signed the landmark accord with Iran in 2015 that provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

But President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the deal and began reimposing sanctions, although he granted some waivers. In withdrawing, Trump said Tehran was not living up to the “spirit” of the accord because of its support for militants in the region and for continuing to test nuclear weapons. Tehran denied the charges.

Tehran and the other signatories opposed the U.S. move and said they would remain part of the deal.

U.S.
Washington did extend five other waivers for up to 90 days related to elements of Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.RFERL

According to nuclear inspectors, Tehran has kept its nuclear program within the main limits imposed by the accord. Under the terms, Iran is allowed to keep 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent — far below the level needed to build nuclear weapons

Iran was to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium. It was also allowed to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium-enrichment process in Oman.

The United States on May 3 announced it would not to extend two sanctions waivers regarding Iran’s nuclear activities as part of efforts to force Tehran to stop producing low-enriched uranium.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would impose sanctions on anyone involved in the trade of natural for enriched uranium — as well as in the storage of Iranian heavy water that was in excess of limits.

Washington did extend five other waivers for up to 90 days related to elements of Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.

They allow for work to continue at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment facility, the Arak nuclear complex, and the Tehran Research Reactor.

deal
Tehran and the other signatories opposed the U.S. move and said they would remain part of the deal. Pixabay

However, it warned that sanctions could be imposed on countries if they provide assistance to expand the Bushehr facility beyond the one existing reactor.

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani on May 4 said Iran will continue to enrich uranium in accordance with the accord regardless of U.S. moves to put a stop to it.

“Under the [accord], Iran can produce heavy water and this is not in violation of the agreement. Therefore, we will carry on with enrichment activity,” the semiofficial news agency ISNA quoted Larijani as saying.

Also Read: North Korea: ‘Multiple Rocket Launchers’ On Kim’s Order Confirms State Media

The EU and the European powers also on May 4 said they took note “with regret and concern of the decision by the United States not to extend waivers with regards to trade in oil with Iran.”

The United States earlier in the week decided not to extend waivers granted to eight countries that allowed them to continue to do business with Iran’s crucial oil-export industry. Washington is attempting to bring the country’s oil exports down to zero by pressuring buyers. (RFERL)

Next Story

Economy to Overcome Other Issues in 2020, says Trump

President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger. 

0
President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Keep America Great Rally at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. VOA

“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a catchphrase of U.S. presidential politics since the 1992 campaign, when Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Nearly three decades later, U.S. President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger.

Trump — in tweets, at political rallies and in remarks to reporters — constantly emphasizes the performance of the U.S. economy, stock market surges, low unemployment rates and his tax cuts to boast he is doing a great job as president.

Economists and political analysts are divided on whether that message will enable the incumbent to stay in office beyond January 2021.

Culture war, partisan split

Ever since Clinton, “we’ve all kind of assumed that should be true. And I think for the most part, it is,” said Ryan McMaken, senior editor and economist at the Mises Institute, a politics and economics research group in Alabama. He cautioned, though, that Trump finds himself on one side of a culture war that his predecessors did not have to confront, as well as a deep partisan divide on consumer confidence.

Walmart Supercentre
Balo Balogun labels items in preparation for a holiday sale at a Walmart Supercenter, in Las Vegas. Black Friday once again kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. But it will be the shortest season since 2013 because of Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday in November, the latest possible date it can be. VOA

Policy analyst James Pethokoukis at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, a public policy research group, also is cautious about the economy prevailing over all other issues.

“Just having a strong economy is not going to guarantee you re-election,” he said. “People often point back to the 2000 election, which occurred after a decade of tremendous economic growth any way you want to measure it — gross domestic product, jobs and wage growth. And yet, [Clinton’s vice president] Al Gore still lost that election to George W. Bush.”

McMaken questioned whether voters in key swing states — such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio — who cast ballots for Trump in 2016 were experiencing enough of the touted economic performance to vote again for the president.

Overall, however, “it’s not a bad economy to run on if you’re Donald Trump,” said Pethokoukis.

Trump, said to have concerns about the direction of the economy ahead of next November’s election, will likely push for more tax cuts, passage of a renegotiated North American trade pact and continued pressure on the country’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve, to lower interest rates.

A LB Steel LLC's employee manufactures a component
A LB Steel LLC’s employee manufactures a component for new Amtrak Acela trains built in partnership with Alstom in Harvey, Illinois, U.S. VOA

Trouble ahead?

There are rumblings of economic storm clouds on the horizon. The impact can be seen in Trump’s trade war with China, which has hurt U.S. farmers and raised prices for consumer goods. It’s also reflected in the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index, an underperforming U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index and a ballooning record national debt, in addition to the worrying level of money owed to creditors by middle-class Americans.

“We’ve actually been in a sort of a manufacturing recession, seen a shrinkage of factory jobs, the exact kinds of jobs that I’m sure that people voting for the president thought would be a lot better now,” said Pethokoukis.

So far, none of this has prompted a major stock market correction.

“There seems to be a lot of adaptations in the markets to Trump’s America. That may work to his advantage,” said the Mises Institute’s McMaken.

Analysts note a lack of emphasis on economic platforms so far by the leading Democratic U.S. presidential candidates seeking to oust Trump next year.

But such a platform is likely to be touted when the opposition party holds its convention next July in Milwaukee and picks its campaign ticket. Pethokoukis suggested the Democratic Party should devise a plan with a goal to boost American worker productivity, which has flatlined for years.

The great divide

McMaken pointed out that the widening chasm between the well-off and those struggling economically in the United States makes Trump vulnerable — something emphasized by left-leaning Democratic presidential contenders such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Donald Trump says the economy isn't doing well
Tents and tarps erected by homeless people are shown along sidewalks and streets in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S. VOA

“On the ground level, I would say just in general, the economy isn’t doing as well,” concluded McMaken.

ALSO READ: Greed For Power May Demolish The Democracy

Amid an impeachment drive by the Democrats, Trump is repeatedly hammering on a specific message to those questioning his suitability for office while being impressed with the performance of their pension accounts during his presidency.

“Love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire in August, warning that Americans’ investments portfolios would go “down the tubes” if he lost next year’s election. (VOA)