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May 14, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Trump’s America: A Stable Genius Makes a Decision

President Donald Trump announced on 9 May 2018 that the United States is to withdraw from the Iranian Nuclear Deal — hours after the White House denied conversations around the deal taking place. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ( JCPOA) is an international agreement between Iran, the United States, China, Russia, and the European Union, and is the climax of years of diplomatic tension surrounding reported efforts from Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

The JCPOA was implemented in January 2016: Iranian sanctions were lifted, freeing over $100bn of frozen assets, and allowing Iran to rejoin global markets. In exchange, Iran agreed to commit to allowing “extraordinary and robust monitoring, verification, and inspection,” of all nuclear facilities. 98% of their existing stockpile of enriched uranium was handed over, and the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) maintained constant scrutiny over all Iranian nuclear sites.

President Trump expressed he does not believe Iran is complying with the restrictions and provisions set by the JCPOA. Claiming the United States is required to pay $100bn dollars to Iran, the President appeared misinformed on the stipulations of the agreement, which would allow Iran to recover seized assets worldwide. Trump also claimed Iran was “cheating” restrictions on nuclear development, with no evidence of any such activity. The IAEA must regularly certify Iran’s compliance, and US intelligence must disclose any failure to act in accordance with the deal within 10 days.There has not yet been any reports of noncompliance since the agreement was implemented. President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran is on “standby” to resume uranium enrichment, but are willing to uphold the agreement pending dialogue with the remaining signatories.

Trump has defied European heads of state, international diplomats, and security officials, including his own Secretary of Defense. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal will destabilize relationships with European allies, allow Iran to pursue nuclear arsenal, appease hard-liners, and exacerbate tension in the Middle East. His desire to impose secondary sanctions will damage these relationships further, and is unlikely to do anything to advance American interests. With no incentive to house the IAEA, Iran would be capable of resuming covert nuclear development.

Defending the deal he helped negotiate, President Obama warned that the US could face “a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East”. Obama also noted that “walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes — with Iran — the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans,” calling the end to one arms-control deal and the threat to another a “serious mistake”.

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