Scraping the “Iran Deal” has been one of Trump’s flashy promises since his days on the campaign trail. JCPOA, commonly known as the “Iran Deal” is an international agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the security council. The agreement sets a verifiable (and not trust-based) framework for the P5+1 countries to monitor and regulate Iran’s nuclear compliance through IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to cut back its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and eliminate its medium-enriched uranium. Since then, the IAEA has published about a dozen reports, certifying Iran’s compliance with the accord.
Amid Trump’s opposition drumbeat, three key American allies, France, Germany, and Great Britain announced their willingness to “fix” it by expanding it to contain more issues, while maintaining support for the current deal. The UN also urged Trump to stay in the deal as well.
But why is there so much controversy over an internationally agreed contract?
Trump’s War Cabinet
President Trump’s sheer lack of understanding of international issues makes it extremely hard for our European allies to convince Trump to honor the Deal. Instead, he acts purely based on his instincts and the suggestions of his hawkish advisors.
Unfortunately, the scoresheets of the president’s comrades are extremely problematic. Pompeo has refused to rule out torture as an intelligence gathering mechanism. In addition, his prior statements regarding Muslim Americans, are highly troubling. An ardent supporter of the Iraq invasion, Bolton has been a long supporter of war over diplomacy. In his New York Times piece, Bolton makes it clear that he believes the only viable solution is to “bomb Iran.”
The duo of Pompeo-Bolton can best be described as Trump’s “war cabinet.”
Bibi’s False Promise
While in recent days, European leaders have tried to convince Trump to save the Deal, Israeli Prime Minister “Bibi” Netanyahu has done anything to push Trump in the other direction. A few days ago, in a highly theatrical presentation, he claimed Iranian leaders had deceived the international nuclear agency. The only problem is that there is nothing groundbreaking in Netanyahu’s presentation. For anyone familiar with the issue, there is no surprise in allegations that Iran had a nuclear program, fifteen years ago. After all, these were the concerns that prompted the international community to negotiate an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program in the first place. In fact, Iran’s compliance was clearly reaffirmed by IAEA right after Netanyahu claims.
Even though he said nothing new in his presentation to the world, he still managed to achieve what he wanted: Newswire all over the world reported his quotes, and the public, unaware of the details, proceeded to believe it as “facts”. But forget about the public; for Bibi, only one audience mattered, and he’s sitting in the Oval Office.
What we saw from Netanyahu was his severe thirst to kill the Iran deal and drag the United States into war. But we have been here before; he played the same game to con the American public in selling the Iraq war. It was the pressure from Israel and its lobby that played “a critical” role in dragging the USA to the Iraq war swamp.
A Regional Cold War
Trump’s hawkish stance on the issue, the Israel-Iran tensions are rising, resulting in a bilateral fear of an imminent attack. The US’s withdrawal from the Deal will lead to further escalation of the situation and a renewed arms race. Any provocation from Israel will lead to retaliation from Iran. The slightest false-alarm from either side could set fire to the whole region, leading to international chaos. Whether Trump likes it or not, US will be part of this mayhem.
Take action before it’s too late
Folks, this is not the time for respite. The matter is understandably complicated, but remember, complexity is not an excuse for complacency. This decision might not touch your family, but Trump’s signature will decide future lives of many other families. There is no winner in this game; Instead, it is Israeli, Iranian, and possibly American lives which will be lost.
Trump will likely leave the Deal. But it is not the end of the world. We have to work extra-hard to stay informed and prevent Trump from escalating tensions in the Middle East.
We can’t afford to start another Iraq war. What we need is a de-escalation, not escalation. We must push the White House to work towards bringing sides of the conflict to the discussion table, instead of putting more fuel into this fire. Let’s remember Moshe Dayan–a former Israeli Defense Minister–’s quote that “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies”.