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UN chief warns against scrapping Iran nuclear deal

May 3, 2018 at 10:53 am

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres [Fatih Erel /Anadolu Agency]

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today warned against scrapping an international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme unless there was a good alternative in place, Reuters reported.

US President Donald Trump has been threatening to pull out of the agreement, leading to diplomatic tensions with Iran as well as with US allies keen to preserve the agreement.

“If one day there is a better agreement to replace it it’s fine, but we should not scrap it unless we have a good alternative,” Guterres said in an interview with BBC Radio 4.

“I believe the JCPOA [the Iran nuclear deal] was an important diplomatic victory and I think it will be important to preserve it but I also believe there are areas in which it will be very important to have a meaningful dialogue because I see the region in a very dangerous position,” he said.

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“I understand the concerns of some countries in relation to the Iranian influence in other countries of the region. So I think we should separate things.”

JCPOA was never ratified as a treaty, although after its negotiation by the Obama administration it received backhanded approval by Congress. Lawmakers never voted to approve the deal, but narrowly voted not to reject it.

Current US President Donald Trump called the agreement “the worst deal ever” and has threatened to pull out of it and return sanctions on to Iran. However the other countries who helped negotiate its terms – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom plus Germany – continue to support the deal and have been working to ensure JCPOA remains intact saying it has helped to control Iran’s nuclear arsenal.

The Trump administration has until 12 May to renew sanctions relief for Iran, as the deal requires.