Implications of Trump’s Hardline with Iran’s Nuclear Treaty
By admin October 17, 2017

On Friday, President Trump announced he would terminate the Iran nuclear deal if Congress does not strengthen it, arguing that the current deal served only as a temporary delay in Iran’s eventual goal to obtain nuclear weapons. Trump also accused Iran of violating parts of the agreement, including heavy-water limits and access to international inspectors – albeit this is contrary to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement on Thursday that Iran is “technically” compliant. Although Trump cites the ineffectiveness of the deal for not recertification, several political analysts sees his move as the latest in his attempt to dismantle the legacy of the Obama administration.

The 2015 nuclear deal’s initial framework lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in return for limitations on the country’s controversial nuclear energy program, an outcome the international community feared would be used to create a nuclear weapon. Several key components of the framework include: limitations on the installation of centrifuges, which separates and enriches uranium needed to produce nuclear weapons; restrictions on the production of weapons-grade plutonium, open inspections from the IAEA, the global nuclear watchdog; and, restrictions on the research and development of a nuclear bomb. The sanctions previously imposed by the UN, US, and EU costed Iran more than $160 billion USD in oil revenue from 2012 to 2016, while the deal enabled Iran to gain access to more than $100 billion in assets frozen overseas. In essence, the deal between Iran and six world powers – the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and Germany was a signature foreign policy achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The leaders of Britain, France, and Germany were quick to respond to Trump’s announcement. In a joint declaration issued the same day, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angel Merkel stood committed to the agreement, and although they did not directly comment on Trump’s decision, they stated concerns with the possible implications of it. Indeed, even if the US still commits to the deal, the fact that Trump has pushed the issue to Congress to decide has symbolic implications that cannot be undone. From Iran’s perspective, this move is more proof the United States are untrustworthy, reminiscent of 2001’s failed negotiations under the Bush administration when Vice President Dick Cheney refused diplomacy with an “axis of evil.”

There are further implications regarding potential proxy wars between Iran and the United States. The US still has forces in both Iraq and Syria, and in response to Trump’s rhetoric, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has threaten to undermine US interests in the region through weaning Iraq away from Washington. Iraq will have new parliamentary elections in 2018, and Iran has the finance and influence to shape the formation of Iraq’s central government, making current US hostilities a precarious matter. In specific response to Trump’s statements, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a live address stating the US could not decide on the fate of the deal alone and Iran would continue to abide with the framework of international law unless the other sides refuse to abide by them. Despite the many stakes  Trump’s statement has implicated, there is still hope for the treaty to continue as other global leaders seek to move forward.

Further Reading:

US allies in Europe vow to stand by Iran nuclear deal

Trump Threatens to Cancel Iran Nuclear Deal if It’s Not Strengthened

Trump Disavows Nuclear Deal, but Doesn’t Scrap It

Trump Just Kneecapped the Iran Nuclear Deal. And in Doing so He Revealed His Core Weakness.

file:///Iran nuclear deal/ Donald Trump ‘decertifies’ 2015 pact

file:///Iran nuclear deal/ Key details

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