White House: Even Trump Will Preserve JCPOA

White House: Even Trump Will  Preserve JCPOAWhite House: Even Trump Will  Preserve JCPOA

Despite Donald Trump's repeated claims that he will "dismantle" the Iran nuclear deal if he becomes president, a top White House aide expressed confidence on Thursday that the next commander-in-chief, including the presumptive Republican nominee, would preserve the deal to prevent a potential military conflict in the Middle East.

"The way in which the Iran deal is structured creates enormous disincentives for an incoming president to tear it up," Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told a crowd at the Atlantic Council, Foreign Policy reported.

"To decide that one of the very first things I'm going to do is precipitate a crisis in the Middle East that leads to potential nuclear proliferation or another war —it just doesn't seem like a very wise thing to do."

The remarks come at a perilous moment for the nuclear deal struck by world powers last year that exchanges temporary curbs on Iran's nuclear program for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Trump at various times has vowed to either tear up the deal or enforce it "like you've never seen a contract enforced before."

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, led by Senator Kelley Ayotte, are seeking legislation that would slap new sanctions on Iran in response to its recent ballistic missile tests, moves that Tehran would regard as a violation of the deal.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei promised on Tuesday to "set fire" to the nuclear deal if unnamed US presidential candidates follow through on their promises to renege on the agreement.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first to renege on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, because it is against Qur'anic teachings," He said late Tuesday, referring to the pact by its formal name.

"But if the threat by US presidential candidates to tear up the JCPOA is implemented, the Islamic Republic will set fire to it, in line with another Qur'anic instruction about how to react to a broken promise by the other party to the deal."

Ayatollah Khamenei and other Iranian politicians have also complained that Tehran has not significantly benefited from the deal due to the restrictions that remain on financial transactions, which have slowed Iran's reintegration with world markets.

They also note that many international banks remain reluctant to do business with the country fearing the grudge and animosity of US government bodies.

***Costly Reversal  

In his remarks on Thursday, Rhodes said the tradeoffs for pulling out of the nuclear agreement would be too high even for Trump, the freewheeling real estate tycoon who famously changes his positions from hour to hour.

"You would essentially come into office with all of the major nuclear commitments having been completed, with the stockpile out of the country, with the Arak reactor reconfigured, with no enrichment at Fordo, with all the centrifuges under monitoring [of the UN nuclear agency] and you would essentially decide that you would want to get rid of all those limitations on the Iranian nuclear program," he said.

He also noted that tearing up the JCPOA would alienate the countries the US collaborated with to secure the deal, including the Europeans, Chinese and Russians, a headache he said a new president would likely seek to avoid.

"A basic principle is you don't come into office and create a massive new problem for yourself," he added.

***No to Excessive Demands

In his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei also called on the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, not to yield, under any circumstances, to the West's demands on "carbon fiber".

"By no means should you accept the opposite side's expectations about carbon fiber that is used in making centrifuges and the measurement of 300 kilograms of nuclear materials. Do not bow to this demand."

The AEOI spokesperson said Wednesday that the organization would "never" accede to the demand because it is considered excessive.  

"We have not accepted and will not accept any interpretation beyond the clear text of the JCPOA," Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency.

"Carbon fiber is a raw material used for the production of rotors of advanced centrifuges," he said, adding, "On the issue, they [other parties to the nuclear deal] have raised a demand beyond the action plan which we have not and will not accept."