MNA – A former IAEA fellow and its deputy director-general has told Mehr News that it should not be surprising if Iran and the US were to start some pre/re-negotiations on JCPOA once Trump takes over as president.
In an interview conducted by Mehr News International Service, Olli Hainonen talked about the possible scenarios for Iran’s nuclear deal once Donald Trump takes over as President of the United States. The following is the full text of the interview:
President-elect Donald Trump noted during his presidential campaign that Obama gave more points to Iran on nuclear agreement and voiced his intention to hold a new round of negotiations with Iran in regard to the nuclear deal. What will Trump ultimately do about the deal?
Currently the transition teams of President Obama and President-Elect Trump are meeting to review issues, including topics related to US national security. Mr. Trump is also receiving other security briefings. This gives the Trump team additional insights, which they may not have had available publicly. It is also customarily for a new Administration to conduct a thorough review of US policies. Such a review has taken in the past about 100 days on major topics.
When we look back to the deal’s negotiating history, the US initiated some of the negotiations through the “Oman channel” parallel to the P5+1 process. Also during the recent JPA, JPOA, and JCPOA processes, many details were first negotiated between the US and Iran, before bringing them to the P5+1 framework. We should not be surprised if Iran and the US were to start some pre/re-negotiations, noting also that for example, Mr. Salehi [Iran’s nuclear chief] recently expressed his dissatisfaction on some of the JCPOA’s language.
In sum, the President-elect has a number of choices relating to the Iran nuclear deal, from relooking at the UN Security Council Resolution; to amendments and fixing deficiencies of the JCPOA through side understandings between the involved parties.
The circle around Trump is composed of staunch opponents of Iran and JCPOA. How much impact do you think this circle will leave on Trump’s foreign policy toward Iran?
Certainly the new administration of Mr. Trump is firmly in the driving seat, but there are all the reasons to believe that his staff will include in their decision-making inputs from the US interagency process as well as gather information and interpretations made by the P5+1 during the negotiation process in crafting policy and direction.
Some argue that Trump will not violate the JCPOA and instead, it will place sanctions on Iran under the pretext of terrorism and human rights violations. How do you evaluate this move in regard to the future of JCPOA?
There is wide dissatisfaction not only in the US, but also in Europe and beyond with regard to Iran’s ballistic missile activities as well as aspects of Iran’s involvement in events in Iraq, Syria and Yemen which these countries view as counterproductive and objectionable. Whether these issues including human rights issues are dealt with related or separate from the JCPOA, it would not be surprising if it has some form of effect on the nuclear deal.
In case Donald Trump violated the nuclear deal, how do you predict the reaction of US’s European allies?
It is unlikely that the US will see itself violating the JCPOA. The JCPOA for the P5+1 is essentially a way to ensure that Iran stays within the limits drawn on its nuclear program. The US and others provide sanctions relief in return. Where violations occur within the JCPOA, there is an arbitration process to handle disputes and non-compliance, which progresses from the Joint Commission, arbitration panel, to the UN Security Council. This gives an opportunity for all sides to express their views as the handling of cases proceeds.
Olli Heinonen is Senior Advisor on Science and Nonproliferation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC.
Interview by: Javad Heirannia