News Briefs Oct. 25, 2017

Trump won’t con rm Iran nuclear deal

On Friday, Oct. 13, President Trump announced his decision to disavow the Iran nuclear agreement. For the time being, the agreement remains in place, but it is now up to Congress to decide in the next 60 days whether to again impose sanctions that have been abolished after the nuclear agreement, not to do anything or to start drafting a new law with regard to Iran. The nuclear deal has been approved with the congressional law that requires the president to report every 90 days on Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

In his address, President Trump pointed out that the United States can withdraw from the agreement anytime it wants. He also expressed his willingness to negotiate with Congress and U.S. allies to strengthen Iran’s commitment to compliance with the agreement. In case the negotiations fail to reach a solution, the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the agreement, Trump said.

Trump did not call for the sanctions against Iran but for sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, which he has defined as a terrorist organization. He called on U.S. allies to join him in imposing sanctions due to Iran’s missile program, support for terrorism and in general activities that are destabilizing the region.

For the time being, President Trump will wait to see what will be drawn up for him by Congress, where his party is preparing a change of the law under which the president must approve the agreement. The president of the Senate Committee on International Relations, Bob Croker, and his Republican counterpart, Tom Cotton, have prepared a proposal that sanctions should be automatically introduced if intelligence finds that Iran has only one year left to obtain nuclear weapons (CNN Politics, “Lawmakers ready Iran nuclear legislation,” 10.13.2017).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to Trump’s speech, saying that it was full of unsubstantiated allegations and insults and promised to straighten the state security forces in lights of new sanctions. He denied Trump’s threat about the destruction of the agreement, pointing out that the U.S. president does not realize that this is a bilateral agreement, which Trump alone cannot overturn (Reuters, “Trump strikes blow at Iran nuclear deal in major U.S. policy shift,” 10.13.2017).

In response to Trump’s decision, European Union (EU) High Representative Frederica Mogherini said that the Iran nuclear deal is an international agreement that cannot be undone by a single state. Moreover, she commented that an international community like the EU cannot afford to break the agreement that operates well and brings results (Reuters, “Iran, EU and Russia defend nuclear deal after Trump threat,” 10.13.2017).

After Trump’s speech, leaders of Great Britain, France and Germany reaffirmed their commitment to the nuclear deal (Reuters, “EU Leaders Talk up Iran Nuclear Deal Hoping to Save It From Trump,” 10.19.2017). They also called on Trump to rethink the further measures that could undermine the agreement.

In response to the new U.S. strategy towards Iran, Russia has also condemned Trump’s aggressive and threatening rhetoric. It seems that the only leader to publicly take Trump’s side is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised what he called President Trump’s courageous decision in refusing to confirm Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and with countering terrorism in Iran. He also added that this is a great opportunity to rectify this bad agreement (Reuters, “Iran, EU and Russia defend nuclear deal after Trump threat,” 10.13.2017).

This decisive shift in strategy toward Iran was also supported by Saudi Arabia, which announced further cooperation in dealing with the dangers of Iranian politics. For many years, the Sunni monarchy in Saudi Arabia condemned Shi’ite Iran for destabilizing the Arab world. Like the majority of other Sunni Arab states, it is against the nuclear deal (Reuters, “Saudi Arabia welcomes new U.S. strategy toward Iran,” 10.13.2017).

—Marusa Rus, Guest Reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *