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Trump vows ‘deal with Iran’ within four weeks of reelection

As US pushes for extension of UN arms embargo on Tehran, president sounds an optimistic tone to supporters at New Jersey fundraiser

US President Donald Trump speaks after touring the Whirlpool Corporation Manufacturing Plant in Clyde, Ohio, on August 6, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP)
US President Donald Trump speaks after touring the Whirlpool Corporation Manufacturing Plant in Clyde, Ohio, on August 6, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP)

US President Donald Trump has vowed to seal a deal with Iran within four weeks if he is reelected in November.

“If we win,” he told a group of cheering supporters at a fundraising event in New Jersey on Sunday, “we will have a deal with Iran within four weeks.”

He did not elaborate. Video of his remarks was shared by a reporter for Jewish Insider.

Trump was speaking at the beach home of late supporter and Jewish billionaire real estate developer Stanley Chera, who died in April after contracting COVID-19. The president reportedly raised some $5 million at the event for his reelection campaign.

Trump has long sought a “real deal” with Iran, as he referred to it in July, to replace the 2015 accord between Tehran and six world powers, intended to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, which the Trump administration officially abandoned in May 2018. Tehran has rejected the idea of negotiating a new deal with the US.

The Trump administration has instead sought to bring “maximum pressure” against the Iranian regime through escalating sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy. Trump has criticized the nuclear deal, reached at the behest of his predecessor Barack Obama, for failing to rein in Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability over the long term, and for allowing the regime to continue to fund terror groups like Hezbollah and escalate its military interventions throughout the Middle East.

The Trump administration has recently been working to convince the UN Security Council to extend an international arms embargo on Iran extended past its expiration date in October.

The embargo is due to expire under the terms of a UNSC resolution that blessed the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Under the deal, Iran committed to curtailing its nuclear activities for sanctions relief and other benefits.

Since the US withdrawal, Iran has taken small but escalating steps away from compliance with the nuclear accord as it presses for sanctions relief.

European allies of the United States — who along with Russia and China, signed the deal with Iran — have voiced support for extending the conventional arms embargo but their priority is to preserve the JCPOA.

Centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, November 5, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, File)

The US text that would extend the embargo effectively calls for an indefinite extension.

Diplomats fear the resolution threatens the nuclear agreement. Iran says it has the right to self-defense and that a continuation of the ban would mean an end to the nuclear deal.

“The focus should remain on preserving the JCPOA,” a diplomat told AFP.

“It is the only way to provide assurances about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. No credible alternative to this instrument has ever been proposed since the US withdrawal,” they added.

Experts say the gulf between the US and its allies threatens a summer of discontent at the Security Council as the October 18 deadline approaches.

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