By all accounts, Iran has kept up its end of the JCPOA bargain, and most of the world is imploring Donald Trump to leave it alone, and not withdraw from the plan. The president knows “that such a move could lead to Iran resuming its earlier efforts to build a nuclear bomb, thereby destabilizing the Middle East and inviting a major war. Such a war would be applauded by Israeli hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his allies in the Saudi Royal Family, and Zionist elements on Capitol Hill.” Indeed, much is at stake. . . .
By Richard Walker
According to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, Iran has honored its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the JCPOA, but a stroke of President Donald Trump’s pen could signal its end or lead to a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from it.
Such an outcome was first promised by Trump as an election pledge, even though he knew that such a move could lead to Iran resuming its earlier efforts to build a nuclear bomb, thereby destabilizing the Middle East and inviting a major war. Such a war would be applauded by Israeli hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his allies in the Saudi Royal Family, and Zionist elements on Capitol Hill.
On the other hand, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France, which also signed the JCPOA to end Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions, might well choose to stick with the deal and encourage Iran to do so, too. The EU has called on all sides to ensure the deal is protected. EU chief Federica Mogherini has pleaded with Washington to preserve it for the sake of security, arguing that it is working as planned. Her view is supported by most experts who believe the deal, which took two years to negotiate, represents a major diplomatic achievement. The White House disagrees, claiming it has been a disaster and that the Iranians have been cheating. IAEA inspectors who have conducted strict inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites have shown that claims of cheating have been bogus. The inspections have been the most thorough and strict ever undertaken by the IAEA.
Forgotten in the media coverage of ongoing threats by Trump to scrap the deal is the fact that it was supported in 2015 by a UN Security Council vote of 15-0. That confirms those determined to jettison it would have to overturn a majority UN Security Council vote. China and Russia will not let that happen.
On April 27, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that it was encouraging all signatories to the JCPOA to “honor and safeguard it.” That followed a similar commitment from the Kremlin with a spokesman pointing out that the deal was a product of “meticulous and intense diplomacy,” and there is no alternative to it. One of the interesting elements of the Kremlin statement was its insistence that Iran’s “stance” on the JCPOA was critical in any consideration of it. In other words, those like Trump or France’s Macron who mused about negotiating a new arrangement could not do so without Iranian approval. Such an approval will not be forthcoming. Iran’s leaders have said they will not allow a word of the nuclear deal to be altered.
Lost in much of the media speculation about the future of the deal is that Iran has kept its commitments even though it has not benefited that much financially, given all the hype in the West about what the deal would do for its economy. That can be explained in part by Trump’s public threats to wreck the deal, a move that has dissuaded international banks and companies from doing business with Tehran.
From the day it was negotiated, the deal was threatened by Netanyahu and his backers on Capitol Hill. It was also vehemently opposed by the Saudis, who have Trump’s ear. Some Israeli intelligence chiefs, however, have disagreed with Netanyahu, pointing out that the Iranians have honored their side of the bargain, thereby making it impossible for them to build a nuclear weapon for at least 20 years.
In a move not mentioned in Congress or in the mainstream media, The Jerusalem Post recently lambasted Trump for his stance on the deal in language that was startling.
“This reality is clear, even to former critics of the deal. Trump’s bombastic rhetoric is not backed up with fact: There is no case in which unilateral withdrawal serves U.S. interests,” reported the Post.
Those familiar with Middle East politics know that White House opposition to the nuclear pact is ultimately aimed at weakening Iran’s influence in the region. It is a strategy applauded by Israel and the Saudis. Russia, Iran’s ally, is watching events carefully and has been negotiating secretly with Iran to boost its missile defenses.
North Korea will no doubt have been studying the Iran issue, wondering if it could ever trust Washington to be a reliable broker in a nuclear deal. However, if North Korea were to give up its nukes, it would continue to pose a major threat to its neighbors because of its massive arsenal of short-range missiles that could obliterate South Korea and strike Japan. The issue of that arsenal does not appear to have been on Washington’s agenda.
Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former New York mainstream news producer who grew tired of seeing his articles censored by his bosses.