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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Iran nuclear deal 'flawed' as it empowers Tehran

Donald Trump has grounds to de-certify the deal with Tehran, says US ambassador the the UN

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, US on September 5, 2017, said the nuclear deal with Iran is 'flawed'. Aaron P Bernstein/Reuters
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, US on September 5, 2017, said the nuclear deal with Iran is 'flawed'. Aaron P Bernstein/Reuters

In what amounts to the harshest criticism of the Iran nuclear deal from the Trump administration, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the agreement with Tehran “flawed” and one that empowers the regime.

She warned that President Donald Trump could roll it back by holding Iran non-compliant next month.

In a speech on Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Ms Haley stopped short of advocating a US de-certifying of the deal when the Trump team finishes its review next month, but very much criticised its content and shortcomings.

The US ambassador labelled the deal - also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - "flawed" and with loopholes that “could blow it up when penalising its violations”.

“Iranian compliance with the JCPOA is like a jigsaw puzzle, picking up one piece does not give the full picture,” she said.

Still Ms Haley said that decertifying the Iran nuclear deal was a decision only Mr Trump can make next month and it was “his decision alone”.

“The Iran nuclear deal is designed to make leaving it less attractive ... it was designed to be too big to fail,” she said, arguing that the agreement boosted Iranian economy but overlooks the behaviour of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) regionally and on the ballistic missile front.

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The US ambassador recounted three decades of terror attacks or assassinations suspected to be carried out by the IRGC - ranging from the Marines Bombing in Beirut in 1983 to the foiled plot to assassinate then Saudi ambassador to Washington Adel Al Jubeir in 2015.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran was born in an act of international lawbreaking,” Ms Haley said quoting Henry Kissinger who once said "Iran can’t decide whether it is a nation or a cause".

She voiced concerns over the sunset clause in the deal, and said it does not address the problem of missile development.

“Missile technology cannot be separated from pursuit of a nuclear weapon," Ms Haley said, warning that North Korea "is showing the world that right now".

While making it clear that “the European allies want us to stay in the deal”, Ms Haley said that this is “about US security not Europe’s”.

If Mr Trump decides to call Iran non-compliant next month, the ball would be in the Congressional court to reimpose US sanctions that were otherwise removed under the deal, she explained.

“If we continue to overlook [the violations and shortcomings], we will be dealing with another North Korea ... we need to wake up,” she warned.