Trump can pre­serve nu­clear deal and ad­dress Iran pol­icy

The Denver Post - - OPINION - By Ryan Crocker and Bar­bara Slavin Ryan Crocker is a for­mer am­bas­sador to a num­ber of Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries. Bar­bara Slavin is act­ing di­rec­tor of the Fu­ture of Iran Ini­tia­tive at the At­lantic Coun­cil.

Ayear af­ter its ac­ti­va­tion, the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion has achieved its chief pur­pose: slow­ing Iran’s nu­clear ad­vances and in­sur­ing through tight ver­i­fi­ca­tion that the coun­try can­not amass suf­fi­cient ma­te­rial to make a sin­gle nu­clear weapon.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Don­ald J. Trump, due to take of­fice four days af­ter the com­pre­hen­sive plan’s first an­niver­sary, would be wise to con­tinue im­ple­ment­ing the agree­ment while it re­views over­all U.S. pol­icy to­ward Iran. In­deed as CIA di­rec­tor John Bren­nan told the BBC re­cently, scrap­ping the deal would be the “height of folly.”

Thanks to the plan of ac­tion, whose chief Ira­nian ne­go­tia­tor was For­eign Min­is­ter and Univer­sity

WorldDen­ver Event

Ryan Crocker and Bar­bara Slavin will be in Den­ver on Wed­nes­day for a con­ver­sa­tion with Am­bas­sador Chris Hill about Mid­dle East pol­icy in the new ad­min­is­tra­tion. The WorldDen­ver event is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Westin Den­ver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence St. of Den­ver Ph.D. Javad Zarif, for the past year and the en­su­ing 14, Iran can­not: legally pos­sess more than 300 kilo­grams of lowen­riched ura­nium, en­rich ura­nium to a dan­ger­ous grade, or pro­duce bomb fuel in an un­der­ground bunker. Iran is also barred from mak­ing mass quan­ti­ties of plu­to­nium and from con­struct­ing a fa­cil­ity to re­pro­cess plu­to­nium. In­deed, as­sum­ing Iran con­tin­ues to im­ple­ment the ac­cord, its nu­clear pro­gram will be, in the words of Ploughshares Fund pres­i­dent Joe Cir­in­cione, “shrinkwrapped” for more than a decade.

This ma­jor non-pro­lif­er­a­tion achievement al­lows the U.S. and its al­lies to fo­cus on other ar­eas of con­cern with Iran.

Con­trary to the hopes of some of its sup­port­ers, the nu­clear ac­cord has so far not pro­duced dra­matic im­prove­ment in U.S.-Iran bi­lat­eral ties or in Iran’s re­la­tions with its Arab neigh­bors. Iran has con­tin­ued to jail Ira­ni­anAmer­i­cans and other dual na­tion­als on bo­gus charges, to test bal­lis­tic mis­siles and to in­ter­vene in re­gional con­flicts.

Had Hil­lary Clin­ton been elected pres­i­dent, she would likely have taken a harder line re­gard­ing these other Ira­nian poli­cies; it is not yet clear whether Trump will do the same. He should take note, how­ever, that many of Iran’s re­gional ad­ver­saries — in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia and Is­rael — are now urg­ing him not to scrap the plan of ac­tion.

Mis­guided and poorly ex­e­cuted U.S. poli­cies, such as the in­va­sion of Iraq un­der the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion and the sub­se­quent with­drawal of U.S. com­bat troops un­der Obama, gave Tehran the op­por­tu­nity to fill the power vac­uum left by the fall of Sad­dam Hus­sein in Iraq. Obama’s re­luc­tance to ro­bustly sup­port the Syr­ian op­po­si­tion be­fore Iran and Rus­sia in­ter­vened heav­ily on the side of Bashar al-As­sad makes it harder to achieve a durable cease-fire and po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment in Syria.

Given Iran’s en­trenched role in both Syria and in Iraq, it is un­re­al­is­tic to ex­clude Iran from de­lib­er­a­tions about those coun­tries’ po­lit­i­cal fu­tures.

U.S. Euro­pean al­lies, in par­tic­u­lar, have made it clear that they will not walk away from the nu­clear agree­ment, bar­ring a ma­jor Ira­nian vi­o­la­tion, and that they will not re-im­pose eco­nomic sanc­tions on Iran just be­cause Washington de­cides to do so. Ab­ro­gat­ing the agree­ment would cause an early and un­nec­es­sary cri­sis in tran­sat­lantic re­la­tions and likely ben­e­fit Rus­sia, China and the most anti-Amer­i­can el­e­ments in the Ira­nian sys­tem.

As a deal­maker, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump un­der­stands that it is not ad­vis­able to rip up a con­tract that is con­tin­u­ing to de­liver ben­e­fits. He will face many dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions upon tak­ing of­fice but thanks to the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion, there will be no early nu­clear cri­sis with Iran.

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