Obama administration seeking to strengthen Iran deal before Trump’s rule

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Obama administration seeking to strengthen Iran deal before Trump’s rule

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (APP): President Barack Obama is seeking to
strengthen the landmark nuclear deal with Iran as his successor and rival party President-elect Donald Trump made choices for his defense and security team, who are seen hard-liners on Iran, a Wall Street Journal report said on Monday.

Mr. Trump has severely criticized the deal with Iran which the Obama
administration says has prevented Iran from pursing an alleged weapon-oriented nuclear program.

Former Secretary of State and Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in a dramatic end to the fierce election campaign, touted the Iran deal as a landmark diplomatic gain.

According to the news report, quoting senior US officials, the Obama
administration is considering new measures to augment the agreement with Iran. “Action under consideration to buttress the pact includes steps to provide licenses for more American businesses to enter the Iranian market and the lifting of additional U.S. sanctions.”

However, the officials sought to dispel the impression if the recent
efforts were aimed at “boxing in Mr. Trump”, saying these were under way even before the elections. But, the officials conceded that the intended proposals were not likely to make the accord more difficult to undo.

Mr. Trump has promised to undo many actions President Obama took
during his eight years in the White House. There hasn’t been any new statement on Iran from Mr. Trump in the post-election period.

As Mr. Trump is still making choices to run his administration, the first two picks – retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn as National Security Adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) as Central Intelligence Agency director are perceived hard-liners on Iran who had spoken against the deal during the campaign. Mr. Pompeo, the nominee for CIA’s coveted post,
was among the most aggressive U.S. lawmakers in trying to overturn the nuclear agreement.

While, Mr. Trump has spoken about ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, he
also said that US companies shouldn’t be at a disadvantage in entering
the Iran market, indications that he would to attach more stringent conditions to the deal, rather than dismantling it in first go.

Senior officials in the Obama administration understand that from the
policy perspective, they have a limited to maneuver if the next administration scuttle the accord, but they are trying to highlight adverse consequences the US could face in such an eventuality, the report added.

The accord resulted in the US lifting of most of the long-drawn
sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran to scale back its efforts for more nuclear capabilities that the Obama administration believed were aimed at building nuclear weapons. Iran had said its program was for peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The outgoing administration officials said they have not yet began conversation on the Iran deal with Mr.  Trump’s officials who are overseeing the transition.

The report said that the Obama administration officials will try to draw a picture that if the agreement falls apart, Iran would resume its nuclear program more aggressively.

The report, quoting Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert at the
Wilson Center, a think tank in Washington, as saying that Iran deal is “uniquely vulnerable” as it was not a treaty and had faced significant opposition in the US and Iran.