American Herald Tribune | ROBERT FANTINA: In 2015, Iran reached an agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain, the European Union and the United States to limit its nuclear development program. As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran’s government spokesmen have always said that Iran would never develop nuclear weapons, but for reasons mainly known to the U.S., this agreement was created.
The terms of the agreement include regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which must report quarterly on Iran’s compliance. Since the agreement was signed, the IAEA has reported every quarter that Iran, is in fact, in compliance. The U.S. president is required to certify to Congress that status as reported by the IAEA. President Barack Obama, in the White House when the agreement was signed, certified it every quarter, and current President Donald Trump has done so twice. The certification report is due later this month, and Trump has stated that he is looking for any excuse whatsoever not to certify compliance.
Why, one wonders, might this be? In consultation with five other countries and the European Union, the U.S. negotiated an agreement with Iran that representatives of those organizations all signed in good faith. International inspectors are consistently certifying that Iran is in agreement. Two important questions arise from this situation:
- Why does the U.S. president want to abrogate the agreement?
- What are the possible consequences if he is successful in doing so?
We will analyze each of these questions.
1. It must be remembered that from the very earliest point in the negotiations of this agreement, Israel has opposed it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been saying for decades that Iran is within months of creating nuclear weapons, the sole purpose of which are to wipe Israel off the map. He ignores his own policy of brutally wiping Palestine off the map, in violation of countless international laws. He spoke before the U.S. Congress, criticizing the agreement, and imploring Congress members to vote against it. This caused no end of conflict for the then Democratic-controlled Congress: would they support the Democratic president, or the head of the government whose U.S. lobbies finance their campaigns? In the end, they reluctantly decided to defy Netanyahu, rather than Obama.
The then U.S. president and the Israeli prime minister had long had a highly conflicted relationship, with Obama wanting some concessions from Israel, in return for the billions of dollars the U.S. gives that apartheid regime, but Netanyahu only responding by figuratively spitting in his eye.
The relationship between Trump and Netanyahu is far different, with the U.S. president backing away from endorsing a two-state solution, which all his predecessors, since the establishment of the Zionist entity, supported, and proclaiming that illegal settlements are not an obstacle to peace, despite the many United Nations resolution declaring them to be so. The fact that he is now anxious to please his Israeli master, and withdraw from the JCPOA, is not, in this context, surprising.
2. Based on both his campaign for the presidency, and his eight months in office, it is clear that Trump has no deep knowledge of history, or any understanding of global politics. The U.S. cannot simply leave this agreement without consequences. Should he decide to withdraw from the agreement, it would, in all likelihood, still stand, since the other signatories have indicated they will continue to comply with its terms. Yet with one country that was party to the agreement violating it, Iran would be within its rights to declare it null and void. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, said this about the possible withdrawal of the U.S: “The deal allowed Iran to continue its research and development. So we have improved our technological base. If we decide to walk away from the deal we would be walking away with better technology. It will always be peaceful, because membership of the NPT is not dependent on this deal. But we will not observe the limitations that were agreed on as part of the bargain in this deal.” He also indicated that his decision on how to proceed would be based on what the other countries that are party to the agreement do.
Additionally, U.S. credibility would be further damaged. The agreement was negotiated when John Kerry was U.S. Secretary of State. Last month, regarding Trump’s threats to abrogate the agreement, he said this: “…it seems irrational to leave an agreement that’s working today out of a fixation on potential growth of Iran’s nuclear program more than a decade from now, when such growth could happen tomorrow if we unravel the agreement. We’d be back where we were before, only way worse, with the United States isolated, not Iran”.
The reputation of the U.S. is already in tatters, with Trump governing by ‘Tweet’, continually lying, and spending more time and energy criticizing football players who don’t, in his view, sufficiently respect the U.S. flag (why a flag is to be respected is beyond the understanding of this writer), than he does helping desperate hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. With another mass murder in the U.S., he remains fixated on keeping Muslims out of the country. And as the level of trust between minority populations and the local police remains almost non-existent, he reversed an Obama-era regulation that prevented local police departments from having equipment, such as tanks, more appropriate for a war zone than a U.S. city.
How willing, one may ask, will nations be to negotiate with the U.S. on anything – trade, peace, etc. – if they know that, on a whim, the U.S. can simply withdraw? Former Secretary of State Kerry said that withdrawing from the JCPOA will leave the U.S., not Iran, isolated. And Mr. Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, has said that Europe should lead on maintaining the JCPOA. This indicates a diminishing role of the U.S. on the world stage, which can only be a positive development, since the U.S. ‘leads’ in war-mongering and oppression on a scale not otherwise known in modern history.
Another consequence could be Israel’s reaction. That apartheid, brutal regime has long wanted to destroy Iran, and since Netanyahu controls his U.S. puppet, Trump, any invasion of Iran by Israel will be supported by the U.S. As mentioned, Trump has little or no knowledge or understanding of history or global politics. He may consider that the U.S. had a great victory in Iraq, but doesn’t comprehend the differences between Iraq in 2003, when the U.S. invaded, and Iran today. Iraq was a country with a population of about 26,000,000, a despotic leader, an inefficient military and few reliable or powerful allies. Iran’s population is more than three times the amount of Iraq’s, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is highly regarded throughout the world (so much so that the U.S. occasionally declares it a ‘terrorist’ organization), and is allied with other countries, including Russia. It is unlikely that Russia would not intervene should the U.S. invade Iran even if relations between Russia and the U.S. were positive, but at present they are in the poorest condition they have been in for decades.
In order to do Israel’s bidding, the U.S. would not have to be victorious in Iran; it would simply have to bring chaos to that nation, as it did to Iraq and other Middle East countries. A disorganized, chaotic Iran would allow Israel to maintain hegemony in that area of the world, and that is the goal. The horrific suffering of any population, be it the Syrians, Palestinians, Iraqis or Iranians, is of no concern to U.S. power-brokers. Pleasing Israel, and remaining on the payroll of the powerful pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee), is all that matters.
Although Donald Trump is president, and may in all probability withdraw from the JCPOA, it is hoped that any decision to invade Iran will be prevented by more reasonable people. There aren’t many among his closest advisors, but the military establishment may recognize the global disaster that any military aggression against Iran would cause. Towards the end of the presidency of Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974), his advisors instructed the military not to act on any orders he gave; this probably saved tens of thousands of lives. The advisors surrounding Trump must overcome their ‘yes-man’ mentality, recognize the catastrophe that he is courting, and prevent it. It is a slim hope, but may be all that the world has.