Arms control experts urge Trump to honor Iran nuclear deal
Alarmed that President Trump may soon take steps that could unravel the international nuclear agreement with Iran, more than 80 disarmament experts urged him on Wednesday to reconsider and said the accord was working.
In a joint statement, the experts said the 2015 agreement, negotiated by the Obama administration and the governments of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, was a “net plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.”
Because of the monitoring powers contained in the agreement, they said, Iran’s capability to produce nuclear weapons has been sharply reduced. They also said the agreement made it “very likely that any possible future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, even a clandestine program, would be detected promptly.” [Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes as several times endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency].
Mr. Trump has repeatedly assailed the agreement — a signature achievement of his predecessor — describing it as “a terrible deal” and a giveaway to Iran.
He also has said that he believes Iran is violating the accord, an assertion that has been contradicted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear monitor that polices Iran’s compliance.
The accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, limited Iran’s nuclear activities in return for ending or easing many sanctions that were hurting the Iranian economy.
Under an American law, Mr. Trump must recertify every 90 days that Iran is complying with the nuclear accord, or the American sanctions that were lifted could be reinstated. The next 90-day deadline is in mid-october.
When he reluctantly signed the last recertification in July, Mr. Trump said, “If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago.”
The possibility that Mr. Trump may find a reason to declare Iran noncompliant, regardless of the merits, alarmed the nonproliferation experts.
They warned in their statement that “unilateral action by the United States, especially on the basis of unsupported contentions of Iranian cheating, would isolate the United States.”
Iranian officials have said that any resumption of the nuclear-related sanctions by the United States would violate the deal.
Whether that would lead to its unraveling is unclear, but President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has suggested the country could quickly restore the nuclear-fuel enrichment capabilities that had been limited by the agreement.