The message resonating from Washington on President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear arms deal should surprise no one. Since before the 2016 election Trump has been a critic of the deal and following a shakeup of his own administration, he has replaced many of the players with members who are, like him much more hawkish in terms of backing out of the deal.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” President Trump said. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
This does however drive a wedge between the United States and many of its allies, who tried to get Washington to stay the course. But in the end, much to no one’s surprise the President opted out.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said. “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing we know exactly what will happen.”
In opting out, the President stated the sanctions that were lifted on Iran, are back on and any country doing business with the Iranian government will also be sanctioned. Trump pointed to the Iranians using the money released by the Obama administration in the 2015 deal as the lynchpin for the Iranians, thru their proxies in Hezbollah and Hamas for spreading terror and uncertainty throughout the Middle East.
“At the point when the US had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actually cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen,” Trump said.
This will make no one happy among the United States’ allies with the exception of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu and possibly Saudi Arabia. Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of the deal from its inception. He knows all too well, a nuclear armed Iran would be a dangerous proposition for the Israelis and the lack of Iran’s missile program in the deal is already keenly felt there.
Netanyahu made a television presentation on the Iran nuclear program last week, with the message that “Iran Lied” and then doubled down on that approach this week adding that, “Nations that were unprepared to take timely action against murderous aggression paid much heavier prices afterward,” Netanyahu said.
Trump cited four major points during the speech on Tuesday afternoon that required the deal be scrapped. They included:
- The expiration dates on the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity, which would allow Iran to resume large-scale processing of nuclear fuel starting in 2025
• The limiting of Iran’s ballistic missile program
• The inspections of Iran’s military bases which the Tehran regime doesn’t allow
• The use of the new funds for Iran’s support for terrorist groups across the Middle East.
President Trump has met with Europe’s leaders or spoken with them on the phone, including France’s President Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. They urged the U.S. to stick with the deal for now and they’d work with the president to iron out the troublesome spots of the agreement, that they themselves agree with Trump on.
Johnson spoke to the media this week and made his case there. “Iran has a tendency to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles. We’ve got to stop that. We’ve got to push back on what Iran is doing in the region. We’ve got to be tougher on Iran. We have to fix the flaws in the deal.” Johnson said.
“We need to find a way of fixing that, but you’ve got to do that without just throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” he added.
In the end, while EU companies will try to salvage what they can, they will no doubt begin cutting their ties to the corrupt and crumbling Iranian economy for fear of being cut out of the US-led financial markets. European companies have been wary of doing business with Tehran from the start and this move by President Trump will have long-lasting effects on the Iranian economy. The modest gains they’ve enjoyed after the Obama/Kerry deal will soon dry up.
What is the end game for the Iran deal? Trump is at heart a self-described deal maker. His favorite deal is the next one. And that is what he’ll want to do, negotiate a new one that puts Iran firmly on notice. With the hawkish Bolton and Pompeo in his ear, the mullahs in Iran will rattle their saber and threaten but in the end, they can’t continue with their spending for much longer without crippling their economy.
The Trump administration believes this and he put the same thing out, and extended a withered but small olive branch.
“Iran’s leaders will probably say they refuse to negotiate a new deal,” he said. “That’s fine I probably would say the same thing if I were in their position. The fact is they will want to negotiate a new deal.”
“When that happens I am willing and able,” Trump said. “Great things can happen for Iran.”