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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran is working well: Trumps is dishonest

Donald Trump’s demonisation of Iran is dishonest and dangerous, Guardian, Michael Axworthy, 6 Oct 17,  The Iran nuclear deal is doing what it was designed to do. It is a force for stability in the unstable Middle East, and to endanger it is irresponsible “…….as we get further into Trumpworld, the more disturbing and dangerous a place it seems to be. And in a strange way, it seems he is not really president at all, but still running for president, still trying to convince people he deserves to be there. He is preoccupied with his predecessor and his policies, and with competing against his record, whether it is the size of the crowd at his inaugurationObamacare, or now, the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated while Obama was in office.

With all the difficulties of the world at the moment – a dangerous confrontation with North Korea, the looming threat of trade wars and consequent economic slump, and a Middle East region strewn with failed states, unresolved conflicts and misery, to name just a few – the Iran nuclear deal is a rare example of a recent diplomatic initiative that has actually enhanced stability.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the full title of the agreement) is working. The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), responsible for overseeing its verification and inspection provisions, is satisfied that it is working and that Iran is meeting its JCPOA commitments. The other countries that are party to the agreement, the UK, Germany, France China and Russia, agree with the IAEA and are satisfied too. But Donald Trump is not satisfied.

 The JCPOA doesn’t do things it was never framed to do, of course. It doesn’t address missile development – its negotiators judged that to attempt that would be too much, and would make an already difficult negotiation (which many pundits around the world said would never be successful), impossible to bring to a successful outcome………

Trump’s demonisation of Iran is dishonest. The instability of the region is not in any significant measure the consequence of Iranian actions. To blame Iran for terrorism in the region is misleading at best – most terrorism there, and most of the Islamist terrorism worldwide, is inspired by extreme versions of Sunni Islam, not by the Shia Islam of Iran and the Iranian regime.

The Republican right in the US, historically, has disliked arms control agreements, largely because they involve compromise by both sides and therefore fall short of what might appear the ideal from a narrow US perspective. But that is the nature of diplomacy too. Treaties have to be negotiated; only in exceptional circumstances can you dictate terms. Some commentators in the US have called the JCPOA a flawed agreement, but it is only flawed agreement from that skewed and immature perspective.

The JCPOA is doing what it was designed to do: limit Iran’s ability to make a bomb. It is a force for stability in the chronically unstable Middle East, and to endanger it is irresponsible. Not just the IAEA and most of the world, but most of Trump’s own military and civilian advisers, all agree on that. From their near silence on the matter, the deal’s previous enemies in Saudi Arabia now seem to agree too.

If Trump decertifies the deal – which seems to be his intention in the next few days – he weakens it, but gives responsibility for reimposing sanctions, which would wreck the agreement, to the US Congress.

To do that would be an abdication of his responsibility as president. It would be the action of a spoilt child who breaks the toys in the kindergarten because the adults won’t agree to do what he wants them to do. And if Trump abdicates responsibility in this way, the logical next step is that he should have the responsibility taken away from him.

 Michael Axworthy is author of Revolutionary Iran and a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter


October 6, 2017 - Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA

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