U.S. displays Iran flag minus the Islamic Republic emblem
By James F. Smith
4 August 2017
At a ceremony in New York on Sunday marking the first anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, President Barack Obama displayed a flag unfurled by former president George W. Bush and replaced by the flag of Iran.
“On this day, we mark a turning point in time,” said Obama, speaking to a crowd gathered at the New York Hilton Midtown. “We now live in uncertain and dangerous times.”
During Bush’s eight-year tenure, the United States and its European allies sought to impose conditions on Iran before concluding a multinational deal to curb that country’s nuclear activities that, for more than five years, enabled it to avoid sanctions and permitted it to continue its drive toward nuclear weapons capability.
The deal, which called for Iran to reduce its uranium stockpile below 300 kilograms, was the pinnacle of U.S. diplomatic efforts over the past 15 years. Under U.S. pressure, European leaders signed it in July 2015, with Russia and China signing the agreement the following month.
However, on May 8, the U.S. withdrawal from the deal was announced. Iranian Foreign Minister Hassan Rouhani said that in light of the U.S. decision to withdraw, the agreement should be renegotiated to meet U.S. demands, and that Iran was prepared “to make the least possible concession.”
But for the past week, Iranian leaders have made clear that they will not renegotiate the agreement, which they term the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) and which they describe as an agreement backed by “all major countries.”
After the announcement of the deal’s demise on May 8, Rouhani stated at a summit in Tehran: “We see the implementation of the nuclear deal as a success, and the [European Union] is trying to impose its will