Herald View: Trump’s Iran act undermines US credibility

United Nations inspectors have repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal. But still, Trump found it to be a “horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made”

Photo courtesy: PTI
Photo courtesy: PTI

NH Web Desk

US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of United States from a multinational nuclear agreement with Iran, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying the deal is “defective at its core.”

He has also announced that the United States will slap “the highest level of sanctions” against Tehran. Under the JCPOA deal signed in Vienna with six world powers - the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union - Iran scaled back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue its quest of nuclear weapons. In exchange, international sanctions were lifted, allowing Tehran to sell its oil and gas worldwide. United Nations inspectors have repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal.

But still, Trump found it to be a “horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made.” He has found support from the usual Iran-haters like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates but the main NATO allies have made their displeasure quite clear. “France, Germany and the UK regret the US decision to leave the JCPOA,” French President Emmanuel Macron, a champion of the deal, wrote on Twitter. “The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake,” he added. France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said in a radio interview “the deal is not dead”. He said Europe’s foreign leaders will meet next week with representatives from Iran to talk about the future of the JCPOA. On Twitter, UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said he regretted the US no longer taking part in the nuclear deal. “UK remains strongly committed to the JCPOA, and will work with E3 partners and the other parties to the deal to maintain it,” he added.

The top European Union diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called on the international community to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. “The EU will remain committed to the continued full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal,” Mogherini said from Brussels. Turkey, the second largest NATO partner, has also called the US move unfortunate. While one understands that Trump’s announcement is a reaction to the ground situation in Syria where the Assad regime has strengthened its control over most of the country with assistance from Russia and Iran, one still can’t fathom the lack of thought that has gone into the move. Also, Tehran’s leverage over Baghdad post 2014 could have been a catalyst. At a time when Trump is wooing North Korea which already possesses nuclear weapons, this will send a strong message to Tehran that nuclearisation is the only way that the US will take Iran seriously. Trump may be dismissive of that risk, thinking that Tehran would not risk that as that will give the US and Israel an excuse for military action. And this is where Trump has got it fundamentally wrong. While the US may have been egged on by the Israelis and the Saudis to press for regime change in Iran, it clearly has not drawn lessons from the disasters of similar experiments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. And by withdrawing from an international agreement that has worked till now, which even the United Nations has called a reason for concern, Trump has undermined the credibility of the US in the eyes of the world. Also, emergence of this Washington-Riyadh-Jerusalem axis would be a cause of concern for its NATO allies who are clearly not on the same page with the US on JCPOA. One can be rest assured that policy mandarins in Moscow and Beijing are having silent laughs as the US goes on destroying whatever little credibility it might have been left with. With Syria and Yemen on the boil, this move by Trump will lead to further instability in one of the most volatile parts of the world.

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