The United States and its allies in 2015 achieved a historic achievement by brokering a nuclear deal with Iran to stop making nuclear weapons. Now President Donald Trump is said to be seeking ways to unravel the deal by convincing the world that the Islamic nation is not complying with the accord anymore.
“Blowing up the 2015 agreement between Iran and six world powers and the European Union, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, would be irrational and counterproductive,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Arms Control Association. The United States would be blamed if Trump backs out of the accord and increases nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in the absence of clear evidence of nation’s violations of the accord, he added.
While it’s tough to comprehend the clear and logical idea behind Trump’s anti-Iran moves, he holds a troubled personal relationship with the nation. Perhaps he is trying to heal the wounded relationship of the United States with Israel by slamming Iran. Israel had condemned the Iran nuclear deal during Barack Obama’s presidency and cooled down its bilateral relationship with the United States to some extent.
Trump’s anti-Iran moves came after he visited both Israel and Saudi Arabia — arch-rivals of Iran. Saudi Arabia and its allies (excluding Qatar) and Israel have always sought to weaken Iran’s economy and isolate the nation from playing a regional or international role. Israel had feared the deal would lift economic sanctions on Iran and allow it to become a major economic powerhouse worldwide, because before the imposed sanctions the nation had been the second-largest exporter of crude oil in the world.
Only Israel and the Gulf States support Trump’s attempts to decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal. The European Union, five world powers (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) and the International Atomic Energy Agency may ignore Trump. The five nations and IAEA have consistently failed to decertify Iran’s violations of the accord since 2015.
Under the agreement, the administration must certify every 90 days whether Iran is fully implementing the nuclear deal. The next certification is due next month, and failure to comply with the deal will allow Congress to restart imposing nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.
Irrespective of Trump’s anti-Iran moves, Congress passed in July some non-nuclear-related sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile and human rights violations. Iran called the measures a clear violation of the agreement and a provocative action that may allow Iran to start its nuclear ambitions within days.
Emma Belcher, director of the International Peace and Security Program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, is worried about Iran’s possible withdrawal from the deal, saying: “If the United States pulls out [of the deal] and Iran says ‘Well, we are out as well,’ Iran can really go ahead with developing a nuclear weapon more easily.” However, she believes people around Trump “have been able to convince him just to stay in the deal for now because now the deal is done.”