Trump’s Iran Policy Harming US Interests

Trump’s Iran Policy Harming US Interests Trump’s Iran Policy Harming US Interests

If US President Donald Trump decides to leave Tehran's nuclear agreement, his decision will have long-term consequences not only for the United States but also for global attempts to control nuclear proliferation, says a former Iranian diplomat.  

"In the domestic arena, all vital political [institutions] from congress to Trump's own national security agencies, including the National Security Council, Pentagon, State Department, and Department of Energy, oppose unilateral American withdrawal," Seyed Hossein Mousavian, former spokesperson of Iran's nuclear dossier, wrote in a commentary published by Reuters on Friday.

The reason is they believe the agreement prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons and that withdrawal will isolate the US internationally, he noted.

Iran has repeatedly denied charges it may be developing the capability to build nuclear weapons.  

Mousavian believes that scuttling the agreement will increase global mistrust of the US and remove any incentive for North Korea to negotiate a deal to curtail its own nuclear program.

  Outright Violation

According to the former diplomat, outright US violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 will damage the credibility of other Security Council resolutions and be seen by other member states as hurting its consensus-driven model.

"The JCPOA was endorsed by the UN Security Council—which includes the US—and its other members continue to support the deal. Based on the UN charter, it is the obligation of all members to enact Security Council resolutions," he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear program.

Mousavian wrote that the International Atomic Energy Agency has on numerous occasions confirmed Iran's adherence to the deal and has emphasized that US withdrawal will foment a crisis in the agency's ability to carry out its inspection duties.

  Major Achievement

"The JCPOA represents a major achievement for the IAEA because it is the most comprehensive non-proliferation agreement in history. It is a new standard for resolving nuclear crises and its tenets may even have prevented countries such as North Korea from developing nuclear weapons in the first place," he stated.

The former nuclear negotiator also said the majority of Washington's allies, including the EU, Japan, Australia, Canada, and South Korea, strongly oppose the US abandoning the nuclear accord.

"This represents a significant break in America's alliance system and, going forward, could affect future collaboration on issues such as Russia's annexation of Crimea," he added.  

"These factors are presumably the reason Trump has again waived sanctions on Iran. But they will still exist in mid-May—the next deadline for Trump's sanctions decision—and for every 120 days after that."

***Nuclear Transparency

 Mousavian, who is a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University, says the text of the agreement stipulates the highest standards on nuclear transparency and inspections ever negotiated and provides verifiable assurances that Iran's nuclear program cannot be diverted toward developing nuclear weapons.

These measures surpass anything agreed to by a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he added.

Trump is seemingly seeking to make permanent the JCPOA's major restrictions on Iran's nuclear program and connect the Iranian nuclear program to its missile program, despite the opposition of other world powers to any renegotiation of the deal and the conditions representing an egregious violation of the NPT, he noted.

  Sovereign Right

"Indeed, Iran has a sovereign right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the treaty, which states that there should be no discrimination in the right of signatories to benefit from peaceful nuclear technologies and in no way limits states' abilities to develop conventional weapons," Mousavian wrote.  

The academic said Iran also has a sovereign right to possess missiles to defend itself, adding, "There are no international treaties banning conventional missiles."

He quoted Peter Jenkins, a former UK ambassador to the IAEA, as saying, "President Trump has no right to dictate limits or restrictions over and beyond those just described."

  Antipathy to Obama  

Mousavian argues that Trump's quest to sabotage the Iran deal is in line with his broader "antipathy" for Barack Obama's policies.

"However, rather than challenging his predecessor's legacy Trump should endeavor to use it as a model to bolster multilateral diplomacy and resolve crises in places such as Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan," he said.

"Today more than ever, the world needs a balanced and rational White House to promote peace and security rather than to flout international norms."

If Trump's mantra of "America first" means undermining the rules and will of the international community, it will ultimately result in American interests being taken into account last in global decision-making bodies, Mousavian stated in his commentary.

"On the other hand, Trump still has the opportunity to recognize that facilitating the JCPOA is a chance to help burnish his own legacy too," the ex-diplomat concluded.

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