News : Nuclear
- Published: Wednesday, 09 May 2018
by Poorang Novak
One of the strangest arguments for the US remaining in the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal is that the country gave its word and if it reneged then no one would ever trust the US to make deals ever again.
The thing is that America never really agreed to the Iran deal; it was never even submitted to Congress as a treaty.
The Obama administration, realising that it would never get the two-thirds majority needed in the Senate, used a 42-vote Democratic filibuster to “pass” the vote against bipartisan, majority opposition.
At the time, Julia Frifield, then the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, wrote to then-Representative Mike Pompeo and said: “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (J.C.P.O.A.) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and it is not a signed document.”
This brings into question whether the deal, referred to by its official name, has any legal force at all.
Even the American people, polled at the time by Pew, were not in favour of the deal with 49% saying that they didn’t want the deal, compared with 21% who did.
It makes sense that a deal with such low support, both from politicians and the people, would not stand the test of time. Thus, Trump’s withdrawal should surprise no one.
Even those who agreed to the deal and told the world that it was the best possible deal, have spent the past few months figuring out how it can be made better. It seems that Trump’s final deadline really gave them the shock that they needed.
But even the proposed side deals related to ballistic missiles and malign military actions, were not enough to save the deal because they didn’t tackle the most pressing problem: the nuclear deal weakened UN prohibitions on Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, which cannot be reversed. Russia and China, key Iran allies, would have to agree to this and they simply will not.
Another horrifying problem – thankfully mitigated somewhat by Trump’s withdrawal -is that the easing of sanctions is that Iran was able to gain more money to sink into their malign military adventures, including the support of Assad in Syria and its militant proxies in Yemen, Lebanon and elsewhere. Some advocates for the deal believe that this is a price worth paying for a non-nuclear Iran, which is easy to say when you aren’t being killed by the Regime.
Even then, Iran's nuclear restrictions were loose enough to allow them to legally develop a bomb in 2024 and inspections were lax at best, which allowed Iran to continue working on its nuclear programme.
Some, including the Iranian Regime, are claiming that Iran can simply restart its nuclear programme, but this would be a bad decision that could lead to US or Israeli strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Now, the US is in a position to negotiate a better deal. Iran can’t restart its nuclear programme, is facing domestic unrest on a national scale, and is bankrupted even with sanctions relief. Alternately, the US could support the people’s uprising which would bring about a non-nuclear Iran, by putting the Iranian Resistance in charge.