05:23 GMT21 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States' potential withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) might hurt the US reputation, showing it as an unreliable partner, but would not hurt the Iran nuclear deal itself, experts told Sputnik.

    The concerns over US commitment to the deal are resurfacing ahead of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, which will be held in Vienna on Friday.

    Unreliable Partner

    US President Donald Trump in October last year said he would no longer certify the deal before the US Congress, as required by the US domestic law, and urged the US legislature to improve the nuclear deal. However, the other parties to the deal have expressed stronger interest in keeping the deal intact.

    READ MORE: Choice of Pompeo as US Sec. of State Endangers Iran's Nuclear Deal — Report

    Washington's reputation might suffer if it withdrew from the deal unilaterally, but the agreement itself would remain viable, Majed bin Abdulaziz Al Turki, the head of the Center for Media and Arab-Russian Studies, based in Riyadh, told Sputnik.

    "The United States is aware that it is not the only party to the nuclear agreement with Iran… meaning that the US withdrawal will remain a unilateral US decision, not binding for the rest of the parties, and may negatively affect the future of [other] US-sponsored agreements," Al Turki said.

    The current situation around Iran's nuclear deal underscores the contradictions in the US position, according to the scholar. The original deal, made in 2015 by the US administration under Barack Obama, did not take into account the interests of some of US strategic partners in the region.

    Domestic Turbulence

    Trump has repeatedly criticized the agreement: in January, he said he was "waiving" the application of certain sanctions, but only so that the European parties to the deal could work on improving it.

    The recent dismissal of Rex Tillerson as the US state secretary may point to Washington's harsher stance on Iran in the future, Yakov Kedmi, a former high-ranking Israeli intelligence official, told Sputnik.

    "Tillerson was clearly against Trump in terms of quitting the deal," Kedmi said.

    The deal between Iran, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Germany and the European Union ensured lifting of economic sanctions off Iran in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

    Deal Without US

    The United States may be unhappy with the agreement, but it is impossible to say for certain that it will quit, just as Iran's reaction is just as hard to predict, according to Kedmi.

    "US withdrawal gives Iran a pretext for quitting the deal, but does not force it to do so," he said.

    READ MORE: Choice of Pompeo as US Sec. of State Endangers Iran's Nuclear Deal — Report

    The agreement would remain in force even after the US potential withdrawal, so its future would depend on Iran's reaction, Kedmi argued.

    "If Iran says that after the US withdrawal they will void the deal and renew its nuclear program, it is one solution, but a smarter way to act would be to say that, despite the US withdrawal, they will continue adhering to the deal," he said.

    The economic sanctions against Iran would not be effective in this case, because the rest of the states would remain parties to the deal, the former officer added.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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