The Trump administration has given European powers a May 12 deadline to engage in a conversation over “fixing” the nuclear accord.
LOS ANGELES – A monumental shift regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iranian nuclear deal, may be fast approaching and could change the “rules of the game” in the Middle East, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon warned on Wednesday.
Speaking to the United Nations Security Council, Danon predicted that the executive body will soon have to make a monumental decision: either work with America to halt Iranian aggression in the Middle East or enable the Islamic Republic to continue causing havoc in the region.
“We are now at a critical juncture. It is the last chance to correct the mistakes of the past and recognize that we all must set off on a new path aimed at reining in Iran’s reckless behavior,” Danon said during his address.
“To the permanent members of this Council I have a simple message: do not miss this opportunity. In forty-five days the clock will run out and the rules of the game will change.”
“You now have a choice to make,” he continued. “Either choose to work with the Americans and support their genuine efforts to make the Middle East a safer place – or choose Iran and enable a dangerous regime. I urge you to make the right choice,” he added.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration entered talks with Britain, France and Germany on ways to address their joint concerns with an international nuclear deal brokered with Iran in July 2015. China and Russia are also signatories to the accords and are also involved in separate discussions with world powers.
European governments that were a part of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program hope to preserve the accord largely in its current form. But US President Donald Trump wants amendments to the deal, or a supplemental US-EU deal tacked onto it, that effectively will impose new terms on Iran over its long-term nuclear work.
The Trump administration has given European powers a May 12 deadline to engage in a conversation over “fixing” the nuclear accord. He threatens to withdraw from the deal “immediately” if they do not comply, US Vice President Mike Pence told the Knesset in January.
Trump specifically wants other world powers to recognize the link between Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its work on ballistic missiles, designed to carry nuclear warheads. He also wants them to clarify whether international inspectors have snap access to Iranian military sites that may host nuclear weapons experimentation, as they have in the past, and to address expiration dates built into the nuclear deal that allow Tehran to ultimately grow its nuclear infrastructure to industrial scale.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told senior aides that the White House is leaning towards a full withdrawal from the JCPOA if “significant changes” aren’t made to the agreement, according to online news publication Axios.
Channel 10 later reported that Netanyahu told the foreign ministers of France and Germany, who traveled to Israel for a state visit on Monday, that the US would likely walk out of the agreement.
The report said that when German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas replied that Germany thinks having a deal is better than the alternative, Netanyahu replied: “The Munich agreement from 1938 was also a deal.”
During his address to the UNSC, Danon also reserved time to condemn the Palestinian Authority after it recently announced that they will continue to pay the salaries of convicted terrorists and their families.
“[PA President} Mahmoud Abbas has once again revealed his true intentions as he directly funds hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists with blood on their hands,” Danon fumed as he addressed the chamber.
The Israeli envoy added: “Once again, the Palestinians have responded to American initiatives aimed at reconciliation with support for terror and violence. We call on the international community, and the United Nations, to join the US in their pledge to put an end to the funding of Palestinian terror.”
The rebuke came Riyad Mansour, the representative of the Palestinian Authority to the UN, slammed the US after Congress passed the Taylor Force Act on Friday. The legislation aims to cut American funds to the PA unless it take steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime.
“We look at that act as being a hostile act to withdraw the economic assistance to the Palestinian people,” Mansour said in his recent remarks to the UN.
“Not allowing a responsible government such as the Palestine government in dealing with their political prisoners and their families and those who lose their lives in the struggle for the independence of our state. All these methods are arm-twisting, blackmailing, and will not break the will of the Palestinian people,” he added.
The measure was named after 29-year-old American military veteran Taylor Force, who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 2016.
Michael Wilner contributed to this article.