The Fallout from Trump’s Nuclear Deal Withdrawal
In 2015 the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was signed by the P5+1 - China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the European Union and Iran. Under this agreement, which was spearheaded by President Barack Obama, Iran gave up the majority of its enriched uranium stockpiles and reduced production considerably.
Considered one of the greatest achievements of Obama’s presidency, the Iran Nuclear Deal, as it often called, was designed to ensure that the country’s nuclear programme served “exclusively peaceful” purposes. In return for Iran’s cooperation, North America agreed to lift most of its nuclear-related sanctions.
With the JCPOA in place, the Tehran Regime was able to become less diplomatically isolated, and the faltering economy began something of a rehabilitation. Now, however, this all seems to be under threat. In the latest of his now-expectedly brash moves, President Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of the United States from the deal. While some don’t believe he is telling the truth, for now, it seems that the POTUS has pulled the plug, and his announcement is fact.
The Official Statement by President Trump
On 8 May 2018, Trump held a press conference to tell his fellow Americans of his administration’s latest “efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”. This involved ending the JCPOA agreement, and signing a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating North America’s nuclear sanctions on the Tehran Regime.
Leaving no room for doubt, the President said that economic sanctions of the highest levels would be instituted, and that any nation helping Iran’s nuclear cause was liable to face similar consequences. North America’s leader first asserted that the deal needed to be terminated or renegotiated in October 2017, and there have been discussions to this effect. French President Emmanuel Macron even used his April 2018 state visit to propose new conditions.
Is Trump Acting Like a Bull in a China Shop?
While much of the world disapproves of Trump’s actions, they could actually have positive outcomes. If other countries follow suit and apply sanctions, the regional aggression of Tehran could be weakened and, should it become necessary, acting militarily against nuclear facilities in Iran would be easier.
But are they likely to become necessary? Most people agree that Trump has been influenced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long opposed the deal and said it could lead to an arms war in the Middle East. In his speech, Trump cited the historical evidence for Iran’s nuclear programme that Netanyahu had presented in his regular prime-time television address in Israel.
With out-of-date information and the President’s propensity to make bull-headed decisions, people wonder if that is what is happening now. On the other hand, is it all part of his supposed plan to set off a war in Middle Eastern areas? Something that many believe will trigger World War 3.If this is the case, what exactly is there to gain, and where does that leave other world powers? America and Iran support opposing sides in Syria, for example. What might the effects be there?
The Fresh Danger for Israel is Closer
Netanyahu may be glad of Trump’s withdrawal, but many of the best political minds in the world think the Jewish state is in greater peril than it was before. The conflict between Israel and Iran is not new, but direct hostilities have recently been seen for the first time. Israel has staged several strikes against the weaker country, and while the military might of Iran is less than that of Israel the JCPOA is a large part of why a direct army or a Hezbollah attack has not been launched.
If the Nuclear Deal is done away with, this firebreak will no longer be in place, anything could happen and Israel may be under immediate threat. The other powers that signed the agreement are scrambling to find ways to ensure that it holds, and we can only hope they are successful. Trump may claim that he is trying to pressure Iran into coming up with a better deal and ultimately help the Iranians, but the fact that he seems to have no back-up plan suggests otherwise. As he determinedly steams onwards, the rest of the world needs to work out how to contain him, or get out of the way – and which option is better.