Iran may ‘reconsider’ atomic watchdog commitments

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Iran ‘would be forced to seriously reconsider some of its commitments to’ the International Atomic Energy Agency. (AP)
Updated 01 December 2019

Iran may ‘reconsider’ atomic watchdog commitments

  • The 2015 nuclear accord has been unraveling since last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it
  • The three European countries still party to the deal — Britain, France and Germany — have been trying to salvage it

TEHRAN: Iran warned Sunday it may “seriously reconsider” its commitments to the UN atomic watchdog if European parties to a nuclear deal trigger a dispute mechanism that could lead to sanctions.
The 2015 nuclear accord has been unraveling since last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing sanctions on Iran.
The three European countries still party to the deal — Britain, France and Germany — have been trying to salvage it but their efforts have so far borne little fruit.
“If they use the trigger (mechanism), Iran would be forced to seriously reconsider some of its commitments to” the International Atomic Energy Agency, said parliament speaker Ali Larijani.
“If they think doing so is more beneficial to them, they can go ahead,” he told a news conference in Tehran.
In May, one year after the US pullout, Iran began retaliating by scaling back its commitments to the deal — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Following its latest step back this month, the European parties warned the JCPOA’s dispute resolution mechanism could be triggered if Iran continued down that path.
It covers various stages that could take several months to unfold, but the issue could eventually end up before the UN Security Council, which could decide to reimpose sanctions.
Larijani also suggested the current deadlock with the United States could be “fixed” if Iran’s arch-foe learns from the past.
Ahead of the 2015 deal, then US president Barack “Obama wrote a letter and said that I accept Iran’s enrichment, now let’s negotiate,” he said.
“If the American officials have just as much wisdom, to use past experiences, then they can fix this issue.”
The JCPOA set out restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions.


Will Turkey abide by provisions of Berlin Summit?

Updated 21 January 2020

Will Turkey abide by provisions of Berlin Summit?

  • Expert says sudden end to Ankara’s intervention in Libyan conflict unlikely

JEDDAH: With the conclusion of the Libya peace summit in Berlin on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether Turkey is willing to implement the provisions of the final communique and stay out of the conflict.

Ankara is accused of sending Syrian fighters to the Libyan battlefront in support of Fayez Al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

During the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced concerns over the arrival of Syrian and other foreign fighters in Tripoli, saying: “That must end.” 

Samuel Ramani, a geopolitical analyst at Oxford University, speculates that Turkey will not deploy more troops.  

But he told Arab News that a sudden end to Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict is unlikely for the moment as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will remain present “until the GNA’s future is secured.”

Noting the difficulty of enforcing the Berlin agreement, Ramani said Turkey might not be the first mover in breaching a cease-fire in Libya.

But he added that Turkey will not hesitate to deploy forces and upend the agreement if Haftar makes any moves that it considers “provocative.”

The summit called for sanctions on those who violate the UN Security Council arms embargo on Libya.

Turkish opposition MPs recently criticized the expanded security pact between Ankara and the GNA, saying the dispatch of materials and equipment to Libya breaches the UN arms embargo.

Until we see what specific cease-fire monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be implemented and by which foreign powers, we don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been agreed upon.

Micha’el Tanchum, Analyst

The summit does not seem to have resolved ongoing disputes regarding the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, a planned natural gas pipeline connecting eastern Mediterranean energy resources to mainland Greece via Cyprus and Crete.

The Cypriot presidency accused Turkey of being a “pirate state,” citing Ankara’s recent drilling off its coasts just a day after Brussels warned Turkey that its plans were illegal.

Erdogan dismissed the warning and threatened to send to the EU some 4 million refugees that Turkey is hosting.

Turkey dispatched its Yavuz drillship to the south of Cyprus on Sunday, based on claims deriving from the maritime delimitation agreement with the GNA.

Turkey’s insistence on gas exploration in the region may be subject to sanctions as early as this week, when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Monday.

Aydin Sezer, an Ankara-based political analyst, drew attention to Article 25 of the Berlin final communique, which underlined the “Libyan Political Agreement as a viable framework for the political solution in Libya,” and called for the “establishment of a functioning presidency council and the formation of a single, unified, inclusive and effective Libyan government approved by the House of Representatives.”

Sezer told Arab News: “Getting approval from Libya’s Haftar-allied House of Representatives would be a serious challenge for Ankara because Haftar recently considered all agreements with Turkey as a betrayal. This peace conference once more showed that Turkey should keep away from Libya.”

Many experts remain skeptical about the possible outcome of the summit. 

Micha’el Tanchum, a senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, said: “Until we see what specific cease-fire monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be implemented and by which foreign powers, we don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been agreed upon.”