This video by CaspianReport discusses President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement. On May 8, President Donald Trump pulled the plug on the Iranian nuclear agreement, saying that the Iranian government has failed to live up to its obligations and violated the spirit of the accord. Yet since no tangible evidence that was presented, the unilateral decision places the US in violation of the treaty and subject to international scorn. Despite the decision, much remains to be seen regarding what steps both Iran and the US will take next.
In July 2015, an agreement was concluded with Iran, China, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It provided that Iran’s nuclear activities would be limited, in exchange for a reduction in some of the crippling US sanctions implemented against the country in 1979, 1984, 1987, 1995, 2006, and 2010. According to the JCPOA, the President of the United States would certify that Iran would adhere to the terms of the agreement every ninety days. Leading up to the United States’ withdrawal, IAEA asserted that its inspectors had verified that Iran had gone above and beyond implemented both its nuclear and non-nuclear-related commitments since the agreement was finalized.
Ever since he announced his candidacy for President in early 2015, Donald Trump made the renegotiation of the JCPOA one of his main campaign promises, stating at a campaign rally that “this deal, if I win, will be a totally different deal. This will be a totally different deal. Ripping up is always tough.” Trump described the Iran deal as “the worst deal ever,” and argued that its implementation will lead to “a nuclear holocaust” and the destruction of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Under the Trump administration, the State Department did certify that Iran was compliant with the agreements terms in both March and July of 2017. On October 14, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, on the basis that the suspension of sanctions was not “proportionate and appropriate,” but stopped short of terminating the deal.
Despite withdrawing from the agreement, the Trump Administration announced that it would be willing to renegotiate a “tougher, more comprehensive deal” with Iran. President Donald Trump proposed that any new agreement with Iran would include indefinite restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program (the original agreement only lasted 15 years and became noticeably less strong after the first 10 years), as well as restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program. Additionally, the Trump Administration stated that a new agreement would also limit Iran’s foreign policy and their efforts to defend both the Shi’a Muslims of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as the Palestinian people. In response to Iran agreeing to these new provisions, the Trump Administration would remove all sanctions against the Iranian government, restart diplomatic ties, and work to modernize the Iranian economy.
Overall, the withdrawal was praised by most members of the Republican Party, supporters of the neo-conservative movement, and countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel (who both reportedly urged the Trump Administration to scrap the agreement). Others in the US, including the former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden criticized the decision by the Trump administration, while various countries that had been signatories including the UK, France, Italy, Germany, China, and Russia condemned the decision in the strongest terms. Additionally, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini denounced the Trump Administrations actions, saying that such actions on the part of the US government are more proof that the Iranian people can never trust the US. Moreover, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif stated that his country is “taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions, using the results of the latest research and development of Iran’s brave nuclear scientists.”
The withdraw of the US from the JCPOA places both the US, its allies, and the wider Middle East on an uncertain course. The reimplementation of sanctions threatens to harm the Iranian economy on an unimaginable scale. For example, the resumption of oil-related sanctions may result in Iran losing profits on between 500,000 and 1 million barrels of oil per day. Additionally, new sanctions may prevent Iran from gaining even the most basic medical items, potentially causing a humanitarian crisis within the country. Additionally, it is likely that the renewal of sanctions and international isolation will do little to change the policies of the Iranian government and only serve to strengthen the conservative movement within the country. Most notably, the demise of the JCPOA makes a joint US/Israeli/Saudi military strike against Iran much more likely. Such a scenario may spark a major international conflict and destabilize the Middle East for generations to come.
Here is a link to the full video: