The diversionary US missile strikes on Syria this (and last) April may have been just an appetizer to the main course.
The French Ambassador to Israel Hélène Le Gal has warned that a potential US walkout from the Iran nuclear deal may bring the region to the brink of a war, as she believes that Tehran would “immediately” revive its alleged nuclear weapons program, prompting a response by Israel.
Speaking to Ynetnews on Saturday, Le Gal warned there would be “huge consequences” if President Trump follows through on his pre-election pledge and pulls the US out the Iran Nuclear Deal also known as the JCPOA (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), which he has repeatedly blasted as the “worst deal” ever negotiated.
Le Gal argued that as soon as Washington exits the seven-party agreement, it will become defunct, as Iran will follow suit.
“I don’t think Iran will stay in the deal if the US goes out” and added that “the possibility of war exists.”
“If the nuclear deal is cancelled, Iran will immediately restart its program. We need to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. We don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons—not now or ever.”
The French diplomat’s warning comes shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed his commitment to the deal during his three-day trip to Washington, and suggested a framework for more constraints to put on Iran after 2025, when the deal is set to expire. In addition to Iran’s already mothballed nuclear program, Macron hopes to stifle its ballistic missile development and restrict its influence in the region, including in Syria and Yemen, echoing similar demands by Saudi Arabia.
However, at the end of his US visit, Macron admitted that his efforts to persuade Trump to stay in the landmark agreement, which persuaded Iran to abandon its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief allowing Tehran to resume oil exports, were unsuccessful. Trump, Macron said, is set to quit the deal, as ending it was a pre-election commitment he could not back out of. Trump boasted that he opened Macron’s eyes on Iran, claiming that the French President “is viewing Iran a lot differently than he did before he walked into the Oval Office.”
Separately, on Sunday the new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to Israel where hammered home his boss’s message: the U.S. will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal if the “flawed” accord can’t be fixed to its satisfaction.
“President Trump’s been pretty clear. This deal is very flawed,” Pompeo said, quoted by Bloomberg, in Tel Aviv in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “He’s directed the administration to try and fix it, and if we can’t fix it, he’s going to withdraw from the deal. It’s pretty straightforward.”
The U.S. remains “deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation threats to Israel and the region, and Iran’s position to dominate the Middle East remains,” Pompeo said. “The United States is with Israel in this fight.”
At the same time, Netanyahu said “aggression” by Iran had grown “many fold since the signing of the nuclear deal” in 2015. “Iran has tried to gobble up one country after the other” although so far it is mostly Israel’s attacks on Syria that have suggested any “gobbling.”
Trump has set a May 12 deadline, pressuring his European allies to come up with proposals on how to amend the deal. If the US does not renew the sanctions waiver, the Iran deal becomes null and void.
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