Key Problems Trump Needs to Address on the Iran Nuclear Deal
Iranís recent ballistic
missile test was the
latest manifestation of its enmity toward the international community and its
disrespect for its commitments under UN resolutions and the Joint Comprehensive
Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal forged between Tehran and world
powers in 2015 is formally known.
Fearful of what U.S. President Donald Trump will do with the
nuclear accord, proponents of the agreement have tried to frame it as a
certifiable success and a historic achievement that prevented open warfare with
one of the longest-standing foes of the international community and the U.S.
However, the Iranian regime continues to dismay them with its
openly hostile behavior.
But while apologists of the appeasement policy toward Tehran tout
the achievements of the JCPOA, they fail to mention any of the
shortcomings and failures that have earned deal the title of ďthe
worst deal ever negotiated.Ē
And on that front, handsome much can be said.
round of sanctions against
Iranian regime individuals and entities is a positive step toward curbing
Iranís evil machinations. But thereís a lot more that needs to be done.
Hereís are the key facts that make the JCPOA a weak
agreementóif not a failed oneóand need to be addressed.
Backers of the Iran deal maintain that the accord has put caps on Iranís
nuclear program by
limiting its enriched uranium stockpile, level of enrichment and number of
functional centrifuges. But all of those limits are predicated on hoping that
the Iranian regime will keep its word, which is not saying much.
And the mere fact that an extremist regime and the leading
state sponsor of terrorism is
allowed to enrich uranium is in itself a failure. Whatís interesting is that,
before capitulating to Tehran, it was the Obama
Administrationís stated position that
Iran has no right to enrich uranium.
Iran could have perfectly achieved a peaceful nuclear energy
program by purchasing fuel from the international market, and it would have even
cost less than maintaining a domestic enrichment program. Tehranís insistence
on its ďinalienable right to enrichmentĒ further betrays its true
Having a nuclear threshold state in the Middle East will only
exacerbate tensions in the neighborhood and possibly drive other nations to
pursue their own nuclear program to protect themselves in case Iran does away
with its commitments and breaks away toward nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA provisions a sunset
clause, which sets expiration dates on the limits imposed on Iranís
This gives Iran the green light to extend its centrifuges beyond
the current 6,000 limit after 10 years, and after 15 years itíll be free to
grow its nuclear stockpile beyond the current 300-kilogram cap as well as create
heavy water reactors, which can generate weapons-grade plutonium.
admits that in years
13, 14 and 15 of the deal, Iranís breakout time ďwould have shrunk almost
down to zero,Ē which means if Iran decides to dash for the bomb, it would have
it in no time.
Proponents of the deal are hopeful that, by then, the Iranian
regime will lose heart for pursuing nuclear bombs. However, statements
by high Iranian authorities only
prove that Tehran continues to entertain thoughts of restoring its nuclear
program to its previous stateóand beyond.
If the past four decades are any indication, nothing short of
regime change will deter the mullahs ruling Iran from their nuclear ambitions or
other evil intentions meant to preserve their power.
Following the forging of the pact, Obama stressed that the JCPOA
does not rely on trust but on verification. The White House declared that
under the new nuclear deal, ďIran has committed to extraordinary and robust
monitoring, verification and inspection.Ē
But Iranís written commitment, the mechanisms put in place to
verify Iranís compliance to the terms of the deal, are very weak.
Under the accord, the task of policing Iranís nuclear activities
will fall to a small band of IAEA inspectors who are supposed to have real-time
access to Iranís declared nuclear sites. However, Iran strictly
limited access to its long-suspected Parchin facility, and proceeded
with providing its own environmental samples of the site without inspectors
physically present, the result of an alleged side
deal between Washington and Tehran.
Moreover, should inspectors desire to investigate a new suspicious
site, Iran can stall the process for
up to 54 days, enough time to sanitize its sites and remove evidence.
Case in point: The IAEAís first and second quarterly
reports on Iranís implementation of the nuclear deal provide less information
on the regimeís nuclear activities than the reports preceding the agreement, a
fact that caused worry among U.S.
Senators who originally supported the deal.
And letís not forget that Iran never officially ratified its adherence
to the Additional Protocol, giving it yet another loophole to renege
on its obligations at its whim.
Given Iranís history at concealing
its nuclear program, contrary to what Obama said, the current
inspections regime puts too much trust in the Iranian regime.
clean on past activities
The JCPOA never addressed in earnest the Possible Military
Dimensions (PMD) of Iranís nuclear program. While the IAEA did release
a report in which it
stated clearly that Iran was involved in research and development of nuclear
bombs, the fact was never acknowledged by Iranian officials, who continue to
claim Tehranís nuclear program is of a peaceful nature.
The international community nonetheless decided to close
the investigation and
let Iran off the hook, and in defense of its position, the Obama Administration
claimed it was unrealistic to expect Iran to come clean on its past military
Neither did the administration acknowledge it was wrong to trust in
(edict) issued by the Iranian regimeís supreme leader supposedly
banning nuclear weapons development activity.
Not holding Iran to account for its past violations or its lying to
the international community will set a bad precedent and pave the way for future
duplicity and evasion of inspections.
other illicit activities
While the Iran deal provided Tehran access to billions of dollars
in unfrozen assets and lifted sanctions, the international community didnít
put necessary safeguards in place to guarantee Iran would not use the bonanza to
fuel its other nefarious activities, namely its support of terrorism or its
ballistic missile program.
Again, Obama put too much trust in Iran, as he clearly stated in
conference on the
morrow of the dealís signing, expressing hope that ďbuilding on this deal,
we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave
differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more
cooperative, to operate the way we expect nations in the international community
Yet a year after the dealís implementation, Iran has used the
windfall cash from the nuclear deal to not restore its bankrupt economy, but to fill
the coffers of the Revolutionary Guards and
push forth its meddling
in Syria, and its violent agenda in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. Iran has
continued to develop
and test ballistic missiles, make the waters
of the Persian Gulf unsafe, take foreign
nationals as hostages, and carry out other activities defiant of the
spirit of the deal.
Before and after signing the JCPOA, the Iranian regime has proven
that it will not be a peaceful member of the international community. The
ballistic missile test was just the latest episode and another wakeup call.
Whether Trump was earnest in his promise to scrap the Iran deal, or
to renegotiate it, or to strictly monitor its implementation is yet to be seen.
But when he said that it was a bad deal, he spoke truly, and we should
disillusion ourselves about the realities of a deal that is based on putting too
much confidence in the promises of a regime that has time and again betrayed the
trust of the international community.
Addressing these key failures and taking a tougher stance against
the Iranian regime and its acts of mischief can put us on the path to a safer
Middle East, and by extension, a more peaceful world.