Trump torches Obama’s Iran, healthcare legacies
Decertifies N-Deal With Tehran, Calls It A Fanatical Regime
US President Donald Trump on Friday continued torching his predecessor Barack Obama’s principal legacies, derailing the eponymous Obamacare health insurance law and the Iran nuclear deal. Trump did not go as far as he had pledged during the election campaign, when he had promised to fully scrap both of Obama’s signature achievements, but his disruptive moves could effectively destroy them.
In healthcare, he scrapped the subsidies deemed essential to the overall coherence and survival of Obamacare, and with the Iran deal, he decertified it and sent it back to the Congress with an intention to make it even harder on Iran, a move most experts say could kill the agreement.
“Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification,” Trump said. “Today I am announcing our strategy along with several major steps we’re taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never — and I mean never — acquires a nuclear weapon,” Trump said. He also condemned Iran as a fanatical regime and and accused it of sponsoring terrorism.
Trump said the deal was too lenient and Iran had been allowed to exceed heavy-water limits and intimidate international inspectors. Iran, he said, was “not living up to spirit of the deal” but was receiving the benefit of sanctions relief regardless. He also announced “tough sanctions” on Iran Guards. He went on to suggest that Iran might be working with North Korea on its weapon programmes, an accusation that has not been substantiated.
The move is likely to increase tension with Iran as well as put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. If the other parties reject the United States decertification, then it will widen their already substantial rift with Washington; if they go along with US, there is the risk of Iran going the North Korea way.
The jettisoning of the Iran deal is likely to also have a cascading effect across in the region and beyond, including in New Delhi, where Indian strategists had counted on easing of tensions between Washington and Tehran for the eventual benefit of all three powers in Afghanistan, besides lubricating India-Iran economic ties.
Instead, experts worried about what message Trump’s new Iran gambit — purportedly powered by his Jewish sonin-law Jared Kushner and influenced by hardline Israeli elements — would have. “This risky gambit will undermine US credibility and the international community’s ability to manage further nuclear developments in Iran, North Korea and other places down the line for years,” Vali Nasr, an Iran expert and dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, wrote in a commentary, warning that “Iran is not looking for war with the US…But it is starting to think that it is better to act like North Korea.”
Trump now expects lawmakers to impose new sanctions even though most accounts suggest Tehran has kept its part of the bargain. He warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”
Trump has long trashed the Iran agreement as unfairly benefiting Tehran while damaging US security interests in the region. Although he did give a certification to the Obama era deal this past summer, Trump had warned his national security team to revise it if they did not want it torched. In the end, he bent them to his will, but the fear is Iran will now bail out of the deal if harsher conditions are imposed, given that North Korea has demonstrated persistence in developing nuclear weapons could eventually pay off. (With inputs from agencies)