The US president says he is ready to leave the agreement if it is not amply amended within four months.

The international agreement on Iran’s nuclear power is not dead. But he may only have 120 days to live. Donald Trump agreed on Friday night to maintain the suspension of sanctions against Iran under the  July 2015 JCPOA agreement in return for a freeze on Tehran’s nuclear program. A decision, expected for two days, which avoids a major geostrategic crisis.

Ultimatum

But this is only partly postponed because Donald Trump has matched this announcement with an ultimatum; if within 120 days it does not get an agreement with the Europeans to ‘ fix the terrible flaws ‘ of the 2015 agreement the US will withdraw from it. At the risk that Tehran, in retaliation, immediately resume its uranium enrichment activities, likely to lead to the production, in the long term, of nuclear weapons. The White House wants immediate access from all Iranian nuclear sites to international inspectors, which is only gradually provided for by the JCPOA, as well as an indefinite freeze, not limited to 5 to 10 years, of the activities of enrichment of Tehran’s uranium.

Renegotiation impossible

”  It’s the last chance,” said Donald Trump in a statement. A senior US administration official said the goal is to agree with the Europeans on a ” follow-up agreement” to toughen the terms of the initial deal. Which seems a priori impossible. On the one hand because the three European countries signatories of the 2015 agreement (France, United Kingdom, Germany), block to defend it as is. On the other hand because Tehran, supported by Moscow and Beijing, other signatories, refuses to consider for a moment a renegotiation of the agreement, obtained after two years of delicate negotiations.

Destabilizing activities

Le président américain a déjà accepté deux fois, à contrecoeur, de  prolonger la levée des sanctions contre Téhéran, mais la dernière fois, en octobre, il avait déclaré que l’accord n’était pas dans l’intérêt des Etats-Unis. Une manière de faire monter la pression. Sa décision de vendredi soir constitue donc un dernier avertissement. Il l’a assorti de sanctions, attendues, sur des dossiers connexes contre une quinzaine d’entités iraniennes, entreprises et individus, pour atteintes aux Drois de l’Homme ou activités dans le programme de missiles balistiques.

Tehran is accused by Washington, but also the European countries, of destabilizing activities in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. A UN report unveiled Friday night says Iran has violated the UN arms embargo in Yemen by letting the rebels stock up on drones and ballistic missiles fired at Saudi Arabia …

Prudent reaction of Berlin and London

Berlin and London on Friday defended the nuclear deal, while cautiously saying they wanted to ‘discuss’ with their European partners. French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday reminded his American counterpart, in a telephone interview, his commitment to the agreement. Simon Gass, former JCPOA chief British negotiator, said in Saturday’s Guardian that talks had been going on between Europeans and Americans for weeks and that he thought ”  desirable but difficult  ” to find ”  a loophole that would allow respond to Donald Trump’s concerns while respecting the JCPOA “.

Tehran denounced “desperate attempts to sabotage a solid multilateral agreement”. Moscow warned Washington on Saturday morning against the ”  serious miscalculation  ” that would constitute an exit from the nuclear deal, which would leave the United States isolated.