Monday, December 5, 2022

Trump in a Hurry to Scrap Iran Nuclear Deal: Analyst

A political analyst says the US president seems to be in a rush to tear apart the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers without taking into account the political fallout from such a move.

Political commentator Hossein Yari has, in a Farsi analytical piece published in the Basirat news website, weighed in on US President Donald Trump’s stance on the nuclear agreement signed between Tehran and six world powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The following is the full text of the article:

Key developments have unfolded regarding the JCPOA over the past few days. Each of these developments can trigger a new row over the agreement. The meeting of a joint committee tasked with reviewing the JCPOA, the agreement between the US Congress and White House over fresh sanctions on Iran, the removal of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from the team reviewing the JCPOA and the like are all issues which should be simultaneously studied and analysed at this juncture. In this respect, the following points are worth mentioning:

  1. Reports on the recent meeting of the committee reviewing the JCPOA show that although representatives of the Iranian Foreign Ministry expressed their objection to the P5+1 group’s point men, the objection was not strong enough to be regarded as an official criticism of Washington’s blatant violation of the JCPOA. In other words, Iran’s envoys only expressed their dismay over US measures. Experience over the past two years shows that the US does not care about the dismay expressed by the representatives of Iran and even other members of the P5+1 group. To officially announce that Washington has breached the deal would be different from a diplomatic dismay which simply suggests the US has failed to comply with some of the provisions of the JCPOA.
  2. At last, as it was predicted, the US House of Representatives and Senate reached agreement on the imposition of new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. The spokesperson for the White House also defended the sanctions and confirmed the US government will approve the sanctions. Therefore, the imposition and implementation of the new sanctions (in the form of non-nuclear sanctions) against our country is sure to happen. Although Trump claims the new bans have been slapped on Iran over non-nuclear issues and not over the JCPOA, it goes without saying that such a claim is not legally and logically acceptable. The imposition of the sanctions amounts to an attempt to disrupt the normalisation of Iran’s economic ties with other countries in the era following the conclusion of the JCPOA. In addition to the sanctions, the US Treasury continues to make efforts to sabotage banking transactions between Iran and other countries (especially major banks). Such circumstances leave no doubt that the US has contravened the JCPOA. Now it is time our country’s (Iran) foreign policy and diplomacy apparatus, especially the domestic committee tasked with reviewing the JCPOA, announced Washington’s flagrant violation of the agreement and opted to reciprocate the US move. Of course, the necessary measures have been envisaged, but now it is time they were implemented.
  3. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has recently corroborated Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, has been removed from the committee reviewing the JCPOA at the Trump administration! In other words, the US president has removed the number one man in the US diplomacy and foreign policy apparatus from the trend of reviewing the JCPOA. Some news sources, including the CNN, speak of Tillerson’s possible resignation as Secretary of State in the near future. The news sources have mentioned Tillerson’s differences with Trump over the JCPOA as one of the most important reasons behind his possible resignation. But what is the nature of these differences?

If we refer to the not-too-distant past and take a look at the US secretary of state’s stances on the JCPOA, we will realize that Tillerson had some of the toughest positions on the agreement. At the time when Trump stepped into the White House, Tillerson said in a hearing session held at the Senate to confirm his competence that the JCPOA needed to be revised. His remarks received so much coverage that Defence Secretary James Mattis had to speak of Washington’s compliance with the nuclear deal. Later on, Tillerson repeatedly described the JCPOA as a bad deal for the US. So, we cannot consider Tillerson as a pro-JCPOA figure! He is regarded as one of the opponents of the deal.

Still, it seems a key bone of contention between Trump and Tillerson over the JCPOA is related to how they deal with the issue in a legal context. Trump seems to be in a hurry to scupper the JCPOA and, in this regard, has not calculated the legal mechanisms and political repercussions of such a move. Still, Tillerson, as secretary of state, believes such a move should be taken step by step. Anyway, the dismissal of Tillerson shows Trump’s extremist approach in countering the nuclear deal with Iran.

  1. Now there is no room for turning a blind eye to Washington’s breach of the JCPOA. Our President and foreign minister, too, have confirmed that the US has violated the spirit and letter of the JCPOA. At the moment, it is all the more necessary to give a tough and crushing response to the US by virtue of the mechanisms envisaged in the JCPOA document and, more importantly, by virtue of two key documents (a statement by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei after the JCPOA was ratified and a statement by the Iranian parliament). In this equation, the potential of Russia, China and even some European countries should be tapped into. At this sensitive juncture, European countries also admit that the US has breached the JCPOA. Hence, Federica Mogherini, who is in charge of the committee tasked with reviewing the JCPOA, as well as other European officials has a tough test ahead. Now it’s high time the European Troika clarified its straightforward position on the US contravention of the JCPOA and stop blowing hot and cold on the issue. It is noteworthy that European countries have, so far, been unable to get a good mark in this respect.

When the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) was being renewed, European leaders knew that US had pledged not to renew the law, but they did not describe the move as an example of the Obama administration’s violation of the JCPOA. Moreover, European countries have done nothing vis-à-vis the US Treasury’s repeated breaches of promises when it comes to the normalization of trade and banking relations with Iran. Now, at a time when European countries also admit that the US has contravened the JCPOA, we should wait and see what their next move will be in confronting the White House.

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