Donald Trump as US President could dismantle Iran nuclear deal. What are the chances Trump could re-negotiate Iran nuclear deal or walk away from it altogether?
Trump has previously mocked and criticized the Obama administration for negotiating the deal with Iran. Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly expressed little interest in Iran’s reintegration into the global economy.
Iran nuclear deal is exactly what allows Iran to reintegrate into the global economy. Since 44th US President Barack Obama negotiated the deal with Iran in mid-2015, the world lifted the crippling sanctions that had been imposed on Iran for playing games with its nuclear weapons.
In return for lifting the sanctions, Iran promised to curtail its nuclear program. But Iran has violated the deal at least twice since mid-2015.
Trump will ‘rip up the stupidest deal of all time’
Ever since Obama as well as five other nations (Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) reached the nuclear deal with Iran last year, Trump and Republicans have repeatedly vowed to undo it. Trump and Republicans have also vowed to constrain Tehran’s influence in the region.
Last month, Trump said Iran “should write us a letter of thank you” for “the stupidest deal of all time.” That being said, his running mate and Vice President-elect Mike Pence also vowed to “rip up” the nuclear deal.
Does it mean that we’ll soon see Trump and leaders of other participating sides of the deal, including Iran, sitting at one table re-negotiating the deal?
Or does it mean that once Trump can use his executive power, the US will stop upholding the deal? Iran nuclear deal is valid only as long as ALL parties uphold it.
While there is a high chance Trump would attempt to dismantle Iran nuclear deal, Iran and other participating sides wouldn’t be exactly happy about it. Such a move would also put additional tensions on Trump’s relations with Russia, who’s been a key player in negotiating Iran nuclear deal last year.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his interest in working with Russian President Vladimir Putin more closely. He even vowed to amend Russia-US relations, but dismantling Iran nuclear deal would only exacerbate their relations.
Risk of military confrontation between US, Iran and Israel
Other parties of the deal also wouldn’t be interested in walking away from Iran nuclear deal. However, if European and Asian countries refuse to return crippling sanctions against Iran, Trump has a powerful leverage.
And that leverage is European and Asian banks. If the US decided to walk away from Iran nuclear deal and return its strict sanctions regime, and European and Asian refused to follow suit, Trump would put their major banks under pressure.
For European and Asian banks, not complying with Trump’s orders would mean risking to be hit by US sanctions.
In case Trump pulls out from Iran nuclear deal, Tehran may renew its nuclear program and even accelerate it. Since there is no telling what will be Trump’s actions when Iran accelerates its nuclear games, there is even a risk of military confrontation involving the US, Iran and Israel.
US is profiting from Iran’s recovered economy
Walking away from Iran nuclear deal also means Trump would start off his presidency on the wrong foot. Russia, China and US allies in Europe have already started doing business with Iran and they have no intentions to stop.
The US has also been profiting from doing business with oil-rich Iran since the nuclear deal was signed. Tehran has made deals to purchase aircraft from America’s Boeing Corp. as well as EU’s Airbus.
Iran has also expanded its oil fields and started building cars. Tehran also made dozens of deals with its close ally, Moscow, including the purchase of anti-aircraft systems.
Iran’s crippled economy is finally manifesting signs of recovery, while its business partners are cashing in big time.
Iran is testing Trump’s temper by violating the deal
However, Iran is testing Trump’s temper. UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported this past Wednesday that Iran violated one term of the nuclear deal. So Trump could use it to his own advantage, presenting it as evidence that Iran is not upholding the nuclear agreement.
The IAEA has evidence that Iran had accumulated an excess of heavy water, a key material for building nuclear weapons, in recent weeks. The Obama administration was quick to prove Iran’s innocence, claiming that Tehran plans to ship the excess heavy water to a third country.
According to the IAEA, this is the second time Iran possesses an excess of heavy water since Iran nuclear deal was inked. Earlier in 2016, the US purchased heavy water from Iran for nearly $10 million to help Tehran get rid of its nuclear-weapons materials.
But Republicans have repeatedly noted that the Trump administration would never make such concessions to Iran.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said, “It’s no surprise that Iran is once again testing the limits of the nuclear deal to see what it can get away with.”
“In January, a President Trump and a Republican Congress will begin a new policy of resolve toward Iran’s ayatollahs,” Cotton added.
Trump has 2 ways to dismantle Iran nuclear deal
Trump has enough IAEA-backed evidence to convince other Iran nuclear deal participants of walking away from the deal with the US. Besides Iran’s heavy-water accumulation, the nation also violated the deal with its multiple ballistic-missile tests.
There are two most probable scenarios how Trump could play out dismantling Iran nuclear deal.
- Trump could announce the US is walking away from Iran nuclear deal. According to the agreement reached in mid-2015, the deal is valid only as long as ALL parties uphold it. In such a case, US sanctions would be restored.
- As some Trump’s aides have previously suggested, the Trump administration could ensure a tougher US enforcement of Iran’s commitments, which would eventually force Iran itself to walk away from the deal.
Iran itself is not interested in the US dismantling the nuclear deal. Despite its multiple violations of the agreement, Iran has much to gain from the deal.
Tehran has repeatedly accused the US of not doing enough to help Iran reap economic gains from Iran nuclear deal. Tehran also complained that Washington has been slow in lifting all of its sanctions.
The day Trump was declared new US President, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issued a statement about Iran’s future relations with Trump’s America.
“Every U.S. president has to understand the realities of today’s world,” Zarif said. “The most important thing is that the future U.S. president sticks to agreements.”
Other Iranian leaders also warned that any new US sanctions would mean the US is violating Iran nuclear deal.