Sab­o­tag­ing the Iran deal

The Week (US) - - News 15 -

Is U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump try­ing to make the world less safe? asked Strokan in Kom­m­er­sant (Rus­sia). His at­tempts to blow up the Iran nu­clear deal could “pro­voke a new se­cu­rity cri­sis in the Mid­dle East.” The 2015 agree­ment, aimed at pre­vent­ing an Ira­nian nu­clear bomb, re­quired Tehran to re­duce its stock­pile of en­riched ura­nium and de­com­mis­sion thou­sands of cen­trifuges that could en­rich more, in re­turn for a lift­ing of in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions and the re­lease of frozen as­sets. The In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency re­ports that Iran is com­ply­ing with the deal, but Trump says he won’t cer­tify that to Congress, as a U.S. law re­quires him to do every 90 days. In­stead, he has come up with “new charges against Iran,” claim­ing that Tehran is fi­nanc­ing North Korea and desta­bi­liz­ing the Mid­dle East, thereby vi­o­lat­ing the spirit of the agree­ment. But if the U.S. kills the Iran nu­clear pact, North Korea will be­come an even more in­tractable prob­lem. Py­ongyang would have an “in­con­tro­vert­ible ar­gu­ment” that the U.S. is un­trust­wor­thy and no rea­son to ne­go­ti­ate with Wash­ing­ton.

Trump is clue­less about the thought and sweat that went into the Iran deal, said Carsten Luther in Die Zeit (Ger­many). More than a decade of painstak­ing Euro­pean diplo­macy paved the way for 20 months of se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tion, re­sult­ing in a “his­toric agree­ment” be­tween Iran, China, Rus­sia, France, the U.S., the U.K., and Ger­many. West­ern ne­go­tia­tors had “no il­lu­sions that the deal was per­fect.” It was in­tended to be a first step, to freeze Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram short of a bomb and buy time for fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tions. Yet in­stead of build­ing on what was achieved, Trump wants to tear it down. “What would be the in­cen­tive for Iran to agree on joint steps” after that?

Europe has good rea­son to be an­gry, said Shafik Mand­hai in AlJazeera .com. After re­stric­tions on trade with Iran were lifted, Euro­pean firms rushed to do busi­ness with Tehran. Air­bus, for ex­am­ple, is sell­ing more than 170 planes to Ira­nian car­ri­ers for an es­ti­mated $13 bil­lion. If the nu­clear deal dies and such in­vest­ments dis­ap­pear, Iran’s mod­er­ate Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani will “find it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult” to fend off hard-line chal­lengers by ar­gu­ing that the nu­clear deal is good for the econ­omy. Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei has said all along that you can’t trust the Amer­i­cans—will he be proved right?

Trump is turn­ing the U.S. into a rogue state, said Sara Ma’sumi in Etemaad (Iran). His rant against Iran at the U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly last month was “filled with in­sults, false­hoods, and hos­til­ity,” and dis­hon­ored an in­ter­na­tional body founded to pro­mote peace. Pres­i­dent Rouhani, by con­trast, gave a states­man­like ad­dress, stress­ing that Iran would honor its com­mit­ments, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other na­tions quickly as­sured him that they would stand by Iran. The U.S. would do well to un­der­stand that it is “only one coun­try” in a mul­ti­po­lar world.

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