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Everything you need to know about Trump’s de-certification of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)

Trump decertifies the JCPOA – while the EU robustly supports it minutes later

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Donald Trump has just given a speech in which he confirmed that the US will de-certify the JCPOA, often called the “Iran nuclear deal”, especially in the United States. The move is far more complex than a traditional withdrawal from a formal agreement, but nevertheless, indicates that the Trump administration remains firmly fixated on at the very minimum, undermining Iran and the international community’s confidence in the deal. In doing so the United States is ultimately hedging its bets on the deal collapsing before the US formally withdraws from its commitments under the JCPOA. However, this is a gamble that may ultimately backfire in a manner that Trump himself would describe as “big league”.

What is the JCPOA? 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was agreed upon between Iran, the United States, Russia, China, the European Union and EU members Germany, France and the UK individually on 16 January 2015.

The terms of the deal were certified in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 on 20 July 2015. All members of the Security Council voted in favour of the resolution at the time.

While the UN is the highest international body to formalise the JCPOA, the agreement was also ratified by each party to the agreement using the particular legal mechanisms of each state (and in the case of EU, a bloc of states).

The JCPOA prohibits Iran from taking the measures needed to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of multiple sanctions which had previously hindered the ability of Iran to do business not only with the US and EU, but other states whose transactions are often dependent on financial institutions which use Dollars and Euros as a means of exchange.

While the United States has passed unilateral sanctions against Iran subsequent to the JCPOA being agreed upon, it is important to note that the JCPOA only prohibits specific sanctions which are said to relate to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Current status of the JCPOA: 

According to the United Nations, Russia, Iran, China, Germany, France, Britain and the EU, Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA. Even the US State Derpartment and US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis recently said that Iran remains technically compliant with the JCPOA.

Internationally, the Israeli regime was alone in condemning the JCPOA while continually challenging the fact that Iran is in compliance with the agreement.

Today, however, Donald Trump formally announced that it is his view that Iran is not in compliance with the deal. Additionally, Trump offered a list of increasingly absurd allegations about Iran that are not directly related to the letter of the JCPOA.

The following are Trump’s stated grievances, followed as necessary by a factual explanation of the grievances:

–Trump stated that Iran supports terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban:

FALSE: Iran is both ideologically and militarily an opponent of both groups and has been since their respective inceptions. Iran, furthermore, has been a victim of Takfiri terrorism.

–Trump expressed concern that Iran is developing ballistic missiles  

True: However, Iran’s missile program is not a violation of the JCPOA in any way, shape or form. The United Nations even clarified this point as did the European Union. 

Trump stated the the JCPOA’s sunset clause is reason enough for the US to consider it a bad deal

Logical Fail: This would imply that the US should want to extend the deal, not tear it apart and lose the confidence of Iran and other international partners

–Trump stated that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a terrorist group and will be sanctioned as such

False: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is one of the three main branches of Iran’s armed forces. Far from being a terrorist group, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been instrumental in fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria. 

What happens next for the United States: 

As the European Union’s High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini correctly stated, Trump’s decision triggers a domestic legal mechanism which does not immediately trigger any change to the JCPOA’s status at an international level. Of course, the implications are very international and very dangerous, but this shall be addressed separately.

According to the unique mechanism that the US has created to monitor the JCPOA, a US President is responsible for certifying the deal’s legitimacy based on Iran’s alleged compliance or lack thereof, every 90 days. On the 15th of October, 2017, Trump will now formally de-certify the JCPOA at an Executive level.

This means that under the appliable laws, the JCPOA will now be debated in Congress. Congress can negate the deal which would lead to a formal US withdrawal, can attempt to impose further sanctions on Iran which could lead to Tehran calling the JCPOA null and void or the Congress could simply do nothing, meaning that the deal would stand unless Trump decides to use his executive power to formally withdraw the United States, something that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said, the US does not currently plan to do.

What happens next for Iran: 

Iran has publicly indicated that if Washington withdraws from the JPCOA the deal with be null and void as a matter of fact. While such statements are highly serious, they are not technically official statements. They merely indicate Iran’s clear disgust with the United States and Donald Trump’s clearly anti-Iranian sentiments.

In reality there are three possibilities for Iran, many of which depend on the attitude and capablities of Iran’s other JCPOA partners.

1. Iran claims the deal to be null and void and begins to renegotiate new business deals with partners whose financial transactions are not dependant on the US Dollar. This would likely include Russia, China, Venezuela and very certainly Turkey as well. It could also include the EU, if as many EU figures have suggested, they would like to continue cooperating commercially with Iran irrespective of what the US does with the JCPOA.

2. The US formally withdraws from the JCPOA, but the deal remains in place with all the other parties to the deal including Europe. In this sense, the status quo would continue, only with the re-imposition of US sanctions.

Here, Europe would have to decide how much it is willing to do, in order to help Iran skirt US sanctions. In respect of Russia and China, there will be far fewer problems regarding skirting sanctions as both countries are becoming highly independent of Dollar based transactions and seek to further this process ever more rapidly.

3. The US formally withdraws from the JCPOA while Europe grudgingly follows along so as not to incur the wrath of the US which Europe is still largely dependent on in many respects. In such a scenario, Iran would focus almost all of its business endeavours on Russia, China and their partners, which still may well include neighbouring Turkey.

In summary:

Iran’s President Rouhani spoke shortly after Donald Trump and offered a highly measured response to Trump’s aggressive rhetoric. After encouraging Trump and his fellow Washingtonians to learn more about Iran’s history, he indicated that Iran’s position on the JPCOA as of today, is similar to that of Europe.

Rouhani stated,

“The EU and Iran must cooperate with each other to stand up to the destructive and improper moves concerning the JCPOA (the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

He continued, saying,

“The JCPOA is not negotiable at all and all sides must remain committed to their obligations under it and the US President or this country’s Congress must not be allowed to carry out a wrong measure against the JCPOA”.

What happens next for Europe: 

The European Union’s High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini offered one of the most robust European rebuttals of a statement from a US President since Germany and France opposed George W. Bush’s war on Iraq in 2003. Crucially, in spite of Brexit talks, the UK government has aligned itself with mainstream European opinion over Iran, while in 2003, a deeply pro-European British leader, Tony Blair followed the US into Iraq.

Mogherini reminded journalists that Trump’s decision is a domestic one which effects the US Congress rather than the status of the JCPOA internationally. She also stated that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 is the highest authority on the JCPOA and that no US President has the right to cancel a UN Resolution.

She affirmed Europe’s commitment to the JCPOA and Europe’s view that Iran is in full compliance with the deal. The words from both Brussels and Tehran would indicate that there is an increasing chance that the JCPOA could continue, even if the US formally withdraws or otherwise violates the deal in the eyes of the wider united international community.

Furthermore, Mogherini’s statement indicates that if the US either violates the JCPOA or formally withdraws (or both), that the US could be in violation of a UN resolution. While technically UNSC resolution 2231 is non-binding, the US could technically be named and shamed in the Security Council, should the three European countries with veto power decide to carry through with their robust support of the JCPOA.

What happens next for Russia: 

Russia is not only a strong supporter of the JCPOA, but Russia and Iran have been enjoying historically good bilateral relations. In addition to multiple commercial ventures, Russia and Iran, along with Turkey formed the Astana Peace Group for Syria. Russia continues to cooperate with Iran against terrorism in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has released a statement saying,

“Russia remains committed to the JCPOA, is interested in preserving it, and will continue to fulfill its obligations under it. We call on all other participants to do the same”.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said,

“The task is to prevent the collapse of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we are calling on all sides to adhere to its statutes. We think that this agreement has large potential and should be fully implemented”.

As Russia is the closet partner to Iran, among all the parties to the JCPOA, Moscow and Tehran will almost certainly hold intensive talks to attempt to either salvage the JCPOA or come up with a backup proposal among willing partners.

Yesterday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated,

“It’s imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue. We also have to tell the Americans that their behaviour on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA”.

This statement indicates that Russia and China could work with Europe to either preserve a post-US JCPOA, convince the US to change its position on the JCPOA or else formulate a new similar proposal which excludes the United States.

What happens next for China: 

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying spoke earlier today and said,

“China’s position on the Iranian nuclear issue has been consistent. The JCPOA has played a key role in upholding international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the peace and stability of the Middle East region. We hope that all relevant parties will continue to uphold and implement the JCPOA”.

China’s position, like that of Russia has been totally consistent towards Iran and what’s more is that China presents Iran and Iran’s wider region substantial economic opportunities via One Belt–One Road. If anything, today’s announcement will only galvanise further Sino-Iranian cooperation efforts.

CONCLUSION: 

Donald Trump’s administration has been plagued with allegations of colluding with a foreign government from the moment he entered office and even before. The allegations have been true only with the caveat that it is not Russia with whom Trump is colluding but instead, that place is Israel.

Donald Trump’s speech about Iran was in parts almost identical to the speech Israel leader Benjamin Netanyahu gave weeks ago before the UN General Assembly.

Fact checking Benjamin Netanyahu’s General Assembly speech

Furthermore, less than 24 hours prior to Trump’s speech, both the US and Israel withdrew their memberships of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) virtually simultaneously, in a clear sign of policy coordination that stinks of a concerted effort which is now being aimed directly at Iran.

In challenging the JCPOA so brazenly, Donald Trump has shown that he is willing to put an Israeli paranoia about Iran, a paranoia which frequently crosses a line into all out hate, above the interests of both his own country and that of America’s most loyal European allies.

The fate of the JCPOA is now in the hands of the other parties to the agreement, but for the United States, all credibility as a negotiating partner has been lost. This applies not only to Iran, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela and China, but also to the European Union.

“America first”, has effectively become: America last.

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Trump Weighs In On The Single Worst Mistake In American History

Trump hits Bush: Invading Iraq ‘the single worst decision ever made’.

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Via Zerohedge


In a wide ranging interview with The Hill on Tuesday conducted in the Oval Office, President Trump was asked to give his take on the biggest mistake in American history.

Considering just how open-ended a question that is, it’s perhaps surprising that he merely went back less than a couple decades into the Bush presidency, though Trump’s base will certainly welcome it as it hearkens back to his “America First” foreign policy vision of the campaign trail.

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” the president during his interview with Hill.TV.

“Obama may have gotten them (U.S. soldiers) out wrong, but going in is to me the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country,” he said.

Trump explained the reasoning behind this choice, and why it wasn’t something like the civil war or another defining and devastating event reaching far into American History.

“Because we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now if you wanna fix a window some place they say, ‘oh gee, let’s not do it. Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives,” the president explained.

Some scholars and humanitarian groups estimate that over one million Iraqis were killed in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq starting in 2003. A 2008 Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll, for example, found that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war.

“To me it’s the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. Civil war you can understand. Civil war, civil war. That’s different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, and that was just, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you.”

Various estimates on the Iraq war’s cost have put the total taxpayer bill as low as near $2 trillion, but none dispute that it is in the multiple trillions, and estimates will vary widely depending on if veteran care is factored into it.

The comments echo things Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016. For example during one of his first major foreign policy speeches then candidate Trump said, “I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V.” And referencing the famous quote of John Quincy Adams, he said during the same speech, “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies.”

He had previously shocked pundits for being the first Republican nominee for president to trash George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and has more recently likened it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest”.

All of this is a hopeful sign considering the extremely heightened and dangerous tensions over Syria this week, and given Trump seems to have vacillated between “bringing the troops home” and getting more involved. On Monday Trump hinted that a decision on the U.S. role in Syria is coming soon.

Commenting on the over 2,000 troops now in Syria ostensibly as part of the “anti-ISIL” coalition campaign, Trump indicated this mission could end soon: “We’re very close to being finished with that job,” he said. He followed with: “And then we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re going to do.”

We consider it a hopeful and a good sign that Trump is possibly revisiting his “America First” foreign policy pledges by identifying the Iraq War as the worst mistake in US history.

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Brett Kavanaugh eleventh hour smear begins to fall apart (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Trump is urging the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh to testify and be heard.

Trump said he wants to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, noting that it would be “unfortunate” if she does not testify before a Senate committee. Trump told reporters Wednesday as he left the White House to view hurricane damage in North Carolina…

“If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate.”

“If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting.”

From Trump’s lips to God’s ear…Blasey Ford came out to issue a statement essentially saying that she will not testify to Congress, either in an open or closed door session.

Furthermore it appears that Ford will not even allow Senate investigators to fly to California and obtain her statement from the comfort of her own home (as Senator Grassley has offered to do).

Ford is demanding an FBI investigation into an allegation with no date, time or place attached to it. 

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the dangerous game of identity politics being played by the establishment, Democrat left, and their mainstream media minions.

The premise that a four decades old accusation is all that is needed to destroy a person’s entire life, threatens to tear down the most basic foundational values adhered to from within the US Constitution, and propel the United States of America towards a fascist state where censorship, citizen surveillance, and evidence free accusations are used to keep the establishment left in power and the American population cowered in fear.

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According to Zerohedge, Democrats’ Hail Mary play to stymie the confirmation of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh is beginning to fizzle out. As angry Dems demanded that a Monday hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh be delayed until the FBI has a chance to investigate, turncoat Republicans (on whom the Dems had been depending for votes) instead withdrew their support and fell in line after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley declared that he would not honor Democrats’ request. Grassley revealed his intention to stand firm late Tuesday after lawyers for Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey, who is claiming that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her 35 years ago when the two were 17-year-old high school students, said their client wouldn’t be wiling to appear at Monday’s hearing.

According to the HillGrassley said Tuesday that there was “no reason” to delay the hearing now that Republicans have invited both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his accuser, to testify publicly. However, while Ford’s attorneys have insisted that their client has taken a polygraph test and “deserves to be heard”, Ford has bizarrely insisted that the FBI should have an opportunity to investigate her claims before she appears before the committee in order to spare her the “trauma” of confronting her alleged assailant.

Ford’s lawyers conveyed her request in the form of a letter sent to the committee, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.

Senator Grassley said he would refuse this request as several Republicans who had appeared to be on the cusp of defecting said they wouldn’t support further delays should Ford prove unwilling to testify.

Via the Hill…

“Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who was one of the first Republicans to call for the Judiciary Committee to hit pause on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Sunday.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) told reporters earlier Tuesday that Ford’s lack of response to the committee about testifying was “puzzling.”

And GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who had threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if Ford wasn’t given the chance to be heard, told CNN that he expected the committee to move on if she doesn’t appear.

“I think we’ll have to move to the markup,” he told CNN. “I hope she does (appear). I think she needs to be heard.”

Via Zerohedge…

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations and insisted he didn’t attend the party where the physical assault allegedly took place. Patrick Smyth, a fellow former Georgetown Prep student whom Ford alleges was also in attendance during the party issued a statement via his lawyer standing up for Kavanaugh. And in a separate letter to Grassley and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, not only does Smyth repudiate Ford’s allegations, but he adds that he doesn’t remember this party even taking place.

Of course, Feinstein – who admitted last night that she couldn’t say for certain that Ford’s story is entirely truthful – sat on Ford’s allegations for three months before referring them to the FBI and sharing them with other lawmakers (who purportedly “leaked” it to the press). President Trump on Tuesday said that he “feels sorry” for Kavanaugh, adding that he doesn’t want to “play into [Democrats] hands”, presumably by giving them more time to drag out the confirmation process.

“They should have done this a long time ago, three months ago, not now. But they did it now. So I don’t want to play into their hands,” Trump said.

Without the support of their Republican allies, Democrats will lack the votes on the committee to hold up the nomination past Monday. Though bizarrely, Kavanaugh himself hasn’t said yet whether he would or wouldn’t testify, which begs the question: If neither Kavanaugh nor Ford appear at the hearing, what exactly will lawmakers discuss?

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou

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Via RT


One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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