Will Donald Trump kick the can over Iran nuclear deal?

US President Donald Trump has used a bombastic approach to gain the attention of European nations, using them as leverage as he bids to alter the Iran nuclear deal, former Pentagon official Michel Maloof tells RT.

Despite international pressure, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says his country plans to stay in the agreement even if the United States backs out – as long as the other members agree to honor the agreement.

Meanwhile, Trump has left the world waiting after firing off a tweet saying he would decide on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson paid a last-minute visit to Washington in a bid to sway his thinking on the matter. Johnson met with newly-appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and appeared on Trump's favorite TV show Fox & Friends.

RT discussed the current situation over Iran with former Pentagon official Maloof.

RT: UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson appeared on American news programs saying that Trump should not “junk the deal” but rather fix those issues that he doesn't agree with in order to keep Iran in line and not to start an arms race in the Middle East. Do you see Mr Johnson's request as an accurate characterization of the problems here?

 
FILE PHOTO: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani © Eduardo Munoz

Michael Maloof: I think he does reflect the European point of view. And I think, on the other hand, you have President Trump who has shown a bombasity initially, and then he seeks to leverage other countries, to do what he wants them to do in order to gain control. He has the attention of the Europeans, that's for sure. And I think that the Europeans all of a sudden say, “Yeah, the deal is not perfect. We will work on it.” The question is will Iran go along with it? And so far they don't appear to be forthcoming with any fixes, whatsoever, at this point. And that has to be weighed into the equation when Trump makes his decision…

RT: President Rouhani said: “What we want for the deal is that it's preserved and guaranteed by the non-Americans. And then the US pullout will be okay. We would get rid of the mischievous element that always causes trouble. And if what we want is not fulfilled, we have our own legal and lawful path and have our own plans.”  He said they have their own plans, they're going to go through with it anyway, we don't know what those are. But we do know that a little over a week ago the French President Emmanuel Macron was in the US, Angela Merkel was in the US. They paid a visit to the White House. We know that the Iran nuclear deal was a major topic to be discussed when they were in the US. It's not a secret that all the other five world powers want the US to stay: Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. They all say that even if the US withdraws, they are still going to move forward with it. Rouhani did say he has a plan…

MM: His plan is to stay with the Europeans, at this point. That is what he has announced so far and so has Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. It really benefits them to do that because any sanctions imposed, if all the other countries dropped out, it would severely cripple an already serious economic problem that Iran has. They don't want to do that. I think Iran is playing both sides at this point. They know that if Trump does something economically, it could really affect them – particularly if he imposes sanctions should he drop out. We don't know yet. My personal view is, he is going to kick the can, give the Europeans another three-months to try to improve the existing arrangement, although he is under severe pressure from the neocons to abandon it.

There is a lot of pressure on Trump to make a decision one way or another. Boris Johnson went there to try to speak to him and maybe talk some sense into him so he doesn’t pull out of the deal…Trump is being pressured by Benjamin Netanyahu and the hawks in the White House such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to push the state forward, to pull out of the deal. Essentially, these war hawks just want to start a war somewhere because it is what these people thrive on – political analyst Shabbir Hassanaly

RT: Trump tweeted that he is going to make a major announcement about Iran Tuesday afternoon, so I guess we have to see what he is going to say there. But you know what else he tweeted about was former Secretary of State John Kerry. And he is saying that he has allegedly been meddling with the deal that was brokered under Kerry's watch and Obama's watch. President Trump is calling this “shadow diplomacy,” blasting Kerry on Twitter. What do you make of this ex-statesman still communicating with Iranian officials?

MM: It is not unusual for former secretaries of state to continue relationships, to talk to their foreign counterparts. There's nothing wrong with it. He is not trying to change anything per se, to come under the purview of the so-called Logan Act which has never been violated by anybody. From Kerry’s standpoint, he is trying to preserve what he has worked so hard to accomplish. Even though it's limited in scope.

France has tried, Germany has tried, no one seems to get through to Trump except Netanyahu and the war hawks…Now, they will be pushing harder and harder to get a war with Iran. With the deal dead, there is going to be a lot more warmongering, you’ll have accusations of WMD’s like we had in 2002-2003 in the run up to Iraq –  political analyst Shabbir Hassanaly

RT: You don't see this as a taboo move given that he's not a part of the administration?

MM: No, it's really not. You've seen  (Madeleine) Albright when she was a former secretary of state, she was involved in talking to counterparts to try to maintain a certain amount of diplomacy. The question is will Trump go along with any of this? That is the big question.

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If US scraps Iranian nuclear deal, it ‘could mean war’ – French President Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the US pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran “could mean war.” Trump has until May 12 to either re-certify the deal or dump it, as he has repeatedly threatened.

Scrapping the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran “would mean opening Pandora’s box, it could mean war,” according to an undated quote from Macron provided in the latest Der Spiegel magazine edition. 

However, the worst-case scenario may not in fact materialize, as the French leader said he does not believe that US President Donald Trump is really seeking a military conflict.

 
Pro-government demonstrators wave their national flag during a march in the Iranian city of Qom on January 3, 2018. © Mohammad Ali Marizad

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), branding it the “worst deal ever” and urging parties to “fix” it. Following the recent visit of Macron to the US, Trump boasted that he changed the French President’s stance on the deal, stating that “he is viewing Iran a lot differently than he did before he walked into the Oval Office.”

While France, the UK and Germany, the European signatories to the deal, who had firmly opposed Trump’s attempts to “fix” it, did not join Trump’s drive against it, they seemingly have amended their position. They now want to address “important elements that the deal does not cover,” including Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as its activities in the region.

Tehran, however, maintains that the 2015 agreement is not subject to re-negotiation, as it fully adheres to it. Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal, which obliged the country to drastically curb its nuclear activities, has been repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors the JCPOA’s implementation. Trump however, argued, that Tehran somehow violated “the spirit” of the deal.

As the deadline for Donald Trump to recertify the deal or withdraw from it approaches (it’s set for May 12), the situation around the JCPOA gets more and more heated. Earlier this week, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu presented a large batch of materials, said to be documents on the Iranian nuclear program, acquired by the country’s intelligence.

READ MORE: ‘Bullying others’: Iranian FM slams US over its handling of nuclear deal

Netanyahu claimed that the documents proved that Tehran has preserved a military nuclear program within the confines of the JCPOA. The premier summarized the intelligence findings as “Iran lied, big time.” Tehran firmly rejected the allegations, calling Netanyahu himself a “broke and infamous liar.”

On Sunday, Iran once again warned the US against breaking the nuclear deal, with President Hassan Rouhani saying that “if the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history.”

 

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Cuban Workers' Confederation Condemns U.S. Blockade

The general secretary of the Cuban Workers’ Confederation (CTC), Ulises Guilarte, demanded on Tuesday, on behalf of the organization, the end of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade.

In his speech at Havana's Revolution Square on the occasion of the International Workers' Day, Guilarte condemned the economic siege the U.S. government has imposed on Cuba for more than five decades.

“We demand an end to the genocidal blockade imposed on Cuba”, said the union leader, who also condemned the worsening of Washington's hostile policy toward Havana since President Donald Trump took office.

Guilarte also demanded that the United States return the illegally occupied territory by the naval base in Guantanamo, in eastern Cuba, against the will of the people and the government.

A detention center, which opened in 2002 and had about 800 inmates (only 41 prisoners remained there) is designated by international organizations as a place where torture and systematic human rights violations are committed.

Presided by Cuban leader Raul Castro and President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the parade on International Workers' Day in Havana brought together hundreds of thousands of Cubans of several generations.

Millions of Cubans also gathered in the capitals of all 15 Cuban provinces to ratify their commitment to defending the Revolution and socialism.

United States: Military in the Mexican Border

Amid the militarist fever coursing through the official spheres of the United States, Donald Trump has just announced that armed forces will increase its presence in the border with Mexico.  

The Associated Press AP announced last Tuesday in Washington that this measure will be in force until the dividing wall between the two countries is finished as the leader promised.  

The Secretary of Defense, James Mattis reported at a lunch offered to the leaders of Baltic countries.  

He also confirmed that “we will do things militarily until we have a wall and the security as it should, we will preserve our border with armed forces and it’s a huge step."  

And he concluded saying: “We really have not done his before, or certainly not much."  

AP comments that the president has been deeply frustrated by the lack of progress on the construction site of what was the main promise of his campaign: "a big and beautiful wall" in the border with Mexico.  

The aforementioned news agency published that Trump insinuated the use of budget from the Pentagon to finance the expenses in the building of the wall, under the thesis that it’s a priority for the national security despite of the specific regulations that forbid expenses without the Congress approval.  

Reporters inquired about the functioning of the project but got no answers from state institutions.  

AP reminds that in 2006 under Operation Jump Start 6 000 security agents were deployed and surveillance over that territory came active.  

It also mentioned that Donald Trump announced that government officials are preparing a new legislative package to patch up cracks in immigration laws.  

The president has given several hints about this initiative in his tweets and also requested republican legislators to approve a measure on the border under the pretext of the “nuclear option if necessary" to carry on.  

On this regard last Tuesday he tweeted: "The Congress should act now!".  

Observers point that Donald Trump shows his fury by understanding that the approved funds are not enough for the building of the border wall he promised to his supporters.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Russia: Trump promised to make visit to Moscow if Putin accepts invite to White House

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that President Trump indicated he could visit Moscow if Russian leader Vladimir Putin comes to the United States.

Lavrov told state television that Trump mentioned the possible trip when he called Putin on March 20 to congratulate him on his re-election to another six years in office.

State-run news agency RIA Novosti, citing the foreign ministry, said Trump invited Putin to Washington and said he would be glad to see his Russian counterpart in the White House.

Lavrov, who met with Trump in Washington in May, said Russia was expecting Trump to formalize the invitation, RIA Novosti reported. 

“We proceed from the fact that the U.S. president in a telephone conversation ... made such an invitation, said he would be glad to see (Putin) in the White House, would then be glad to meet on a reciprocal visit,” Lavrov said in comments posted on the foreign ministry's website.

“He returned to this topic a couple of times, so we let our American colleagues know that we do not want to impose, but we also do not want to be impolite, and that considering that President Trump made this proposal, we proceed from the position that he will make it concrete.”

Both the White House and the Kremlin previously revealed that Trump had invited Putin to the White House during the same call, when the two leaders discussed wanting to meet soon.

A visit by Putin to Washington would anger Trump's critics, amid special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russians who sought to influence the election by hacking emails and spreading fake news.

Trump has repeatedly said his campaign did not collude with Russia to gain advantage in the election. Lavrov has dismissed the meddling allegations as a baseless "claptrap."

Trump met face-to-face with Putin for the first time at the Group of 20 summit of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany, in July. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

More: Trump won't say whether he would fire Mueller, but notes that he's 'still here'

More: Russia: 'Unscrupulous' U.S. behavior destabilizes world

More: Lavrov rejects as 'claptrap' charges of Russian election meddling

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Trump-Immigrants: Guaranteeing Deportation

The current U.S. administration lead by Donald Trump is giving specific orders to immigration officials to deny most of applications on this regard and guarantee the greater number of deportations.

Inconsistent, controversial, and unstable could qualify exactly the president of the United States, Donald Trump, if we look at his changing statements, always pejorative about Russia, China, Syria, Iran and the Popular Democratic Republic of Korea. These statements are fixed and obsessive about the wall along the Mexican border, for which he already accepts millionaire amounts from rich xenophobic people and he deploys troops of the National Guard in the states that cross the large wall.

The true purpose behind Trump´s decision of deploying 2000-4000 troops of the National Guard in the U.S.-Mexico border is to mobilize soldiers to guard improvised military detention camps or take off the burden from Customs and Border Protection agents so that they carry on with their jobs.

Since last April 9th immigrants are being arrested indefinitely, while military support is given to the repressive action, a large-scale incarceration that did not happen since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the confinement of Japanese and North American of Japanese origin during World War II.

The new policy is part of a general campaign of terror of Trump´s republican administration, with the complicity of the democrats. On Thursday 12th, Immigration and Customs officers raided a meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee, resulting in 97 immigrants arrested, in the largest single workplace raid in a decade.

The note of Trump’s administration will expand exponentially the group of immigrants internment camps scattered throughout the Southwest of the United States. It demands the General District Attorney and the Department of National Security "to assign all available legally resources to build, operate, control or modify—or establish contracts to build, operate, control or modify—facilities to detain immigrants for immigration law violations in or near the United States borders."

No leader of the presumably opponent Democratic Party has shown his rejection to the memo. In March, democrats united joined republicans to pass a bill of expenses for 1,3 trillion dollars that includes a resolution that grants Trump the power to expand the system of immigrants jails "as necessary to guarantee the detention of foreigners with deportation priority".

This is nothing new, because Trump requested in January 2017 the end of what he called "catch and release" immigration policy. This is, in fact, a basic principle of the due process. Immigrants who are interviewed by a customs officer should demonstrate a “credible fear” of returning to their country of origin, which allows them to live in the U.S., while their deportation procedures are carried out in the administrative court.

The overwhelming majority of immigrants who cross the U.S.–Mexico borders are hard-working men who have never committed a felony and seek refuge from their desolated countries ravaged by years of imperialistic exploitation and dictators and death squads supported by the United States.

But none of this matters to the Empire whose current administration lead by Donald Trump is giving specific orders to immigration officials to deny most applications on this regard and guarantee the greater number of deportations. Through credible fear interviews agents commit fraud, fabricate testimonies, destroy documents and belongings of immigrants and force them to sign documents that haven’t been read. Thus, deportation is guaranteed.

Moscow has ‘irrefutable’ evidence chem attack in Syria’s Douma was staged – Russia’s envoy to OPCW

Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said.

“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7,” Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council. The diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”

“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” Shulgin said, adding that “attack” was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” which are under the patronage of the Syrian government’s foreign adversaries.

READ MORE: The facts behind the ‘staged’ video of kids’ chemical weapons drill in Syria

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‘They can go anywhere they want in Douma’: OPCW team arrives in Syria to investigate alleged attack

The first four chemical weapons experts from the OPCW have arrived in Syria on a fact-finding mission (FFM) into the April 7 Douma incident, while Western leaders continue to blame the government for the alleged attack.

@OPCW

? In response to media queries, the Spokesperson for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirms that the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team is on its way to Syria and will start its work as of Saturday 14 April 2018.

"We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances," said Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s envoy to the UN in New York, adding that a second team is due to arrive on Friday.

 
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis waits to testify to the House Armed Services Committee on

The Damascus suburb of Douma was recaptured by the government this week, so experts from the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are expected to have easier access than on previous occasions when the alleged attacks happened in areas of ongoing fighting or those controlled by radical Islamists.

Syria and Russia both requested an FFM team to be dispatched after opposition groups claimed that the Syrian army executed a chemical weapons attack there, alleging there were scores of deaths and hundreds of casualties.

Both countries have claimed that the incident was “staged” with the purpose of galvanizing Western rebel backers after the US earlier announced that it was planning to pull out of Syria, and they say that there may not have been any chemical use at all.

READ MORE: Macron blames Assad for Douma ‘chemical attack’ before OPCW visits site

In a television interview on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “that chemical weapons were used [in Douma] at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad,” but he did not disclose the nature of the evidence.

A day earlier, the US said that it was “still assessing intelligence” and that it was “confident” that Damascus was involved.

The FFM experts, whose mission was set up in 2014, are not entitled to place responsibility for the incident on either side, but they are expected to say if and what chemicals were used, and how they were disseminated.

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