12132017Wed

The Future of the Iran Deal

Iran Focus

London, 2 Oct - At the United Nations General Assembly in September, Donald Trump told the world that he had made a decision on the future of the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015.

While he has yet to confirm exactly what that decision is, many believe that he will decertify Iran as compliant with the deal at the October deadline and the reimposition of sanctions on Iran.

Former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, said: “These were very strong comments. And when you say, among other things, that the deal is an embarrassment to the U.S., it's hard to see how you certify or stay in."

No change to the deal

Some others believe that Trump pulling the US out of the deal is far less sure, with one critic of the deal assessing that odds are still 50-50.

Some people fear that this will lead to Iran pulling out of the nuclear deal (even though Iran has barely paused its work on nuclear weapons), stoke tension in the Middle East (which Iran is already destabilising), and will cause European partners to turn their back on the US (except for the fact that they do far more business with the US than with Iran).

Twice already this year, Trump verified them as compliant which those close to him say was because he was waiting for US policy on Iran to be confirmed.

Amending the deal

Many others across the political divide are saying that the deal must be renegotiated before the Regime gains even more power.

One expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited the White House are incredibly divided on this issue.

They said: "There are no big fans of the deal within the administration. The main divisions are, really, what do we do to try to fix the deal? We'll have the leverage to do stuff, but it requires a lot of artful diplomacies, as well as effective economic and military hard-power coercion. I don't think it's fully fleshed out to the point that the U.S. principals or the European allies feel comfortable that we're not going to create a worse mess by doing this. ... It would be a colossal screwup to just pull out and then don't figure out our next step, or we just stumble into our next step."

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill said: "Once a regime crosses a Rubicon of getting nuclear power, it totally changes the relationship. We're still on the side where the Iranians don't have that power, and we need to double down to make sure that they don't."

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., advised that Trump should decline to certify Iran’s compliance, which would not be a breach of the agreement by the US, and then demand improvements to the deal in exchange for continued sanctions relief. Indeed, this is the very thing that Cotton warned Iranian leaders about in order to prevent them from agreeing to the deal and now it is coming back to bite them.

He said: "What the president should do at that point is outline the parameters of new legislation that he would like to see to greatly strengthen the Nuclear Agreement Review Act, to fix some of the problems with the [deal], while also making it clear to Tehran, and to Europe and Asia, that the sword of Damocles of complete economic sanctions hangs over Iran's regime to be implemented at any moment by him unilaterally."

He also notes that the deal is not in US security interests, thanks to Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, collaboration with North Korea on nuclear weapons, and support for terrorism.

Cotton said:"Even if they were complying with every single letter, word, and spirit of the JCPOA, it's still not in our national security interests. We've seen them run wild over the last two years."

As we wait to hear Trump’s decision on both the deal and Iran policy, at least we can rest assured that there is major bipartisan opposition to the deal that can't be quashed for long.

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