Is the Iran Nuclear Deal Doomed?
On Wednesday, Iran announced the suspension of some of its JCPOA commitments, short of withdrawing from the nuclear deal altogether. More on this below.
Trump’s year ago pullout greatly jeopardizes the deal’s sustainability over the longterm, what its hardliners aim for.
They want Iran to pull out of the deal as a pretext for greater toughness against the country including possible military action — despite world community opposition to belligerence against a nation threatening no one.
Destabilizing the region more greatly than already will follow if the US attacks Iran directly or through proxies, the latter strategy similar to its aggression against Libya and Syria, supported by Pentagon-led terror-bombing.
The JCPOA nuclear deal is an international agreement, formally approved by Security Council members, making it binding international law.
Trump’s pullout flagrantly breached it — how the US operates time and again, by its own rules exclusively at the expense of world peace, stability, and the rights of sovereign nations, independent ones like Iran targeted for regime change.
Signatories to the January 2016 JCPOA include China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and US. Sino/Russian support for its principles is firm. Both countries maintain normal diplomatic, economic, and financial relations with the Islamic Republic.
The US pulled out. EU signatories failed to deliver on commitments made, promising one thing, then effectively reneging by not continuing normal ties to Iran, including purchases of its oil and maintaining normal financial relations.
Instead of refusing to go along with unlawful Trump regime sanctions, Brussels honors them, a flagrant breach of JCPOA provisions.
Since Trump’s May 2018 withdrawal, signals from Brussels have been mixed. The European Commission (EC) said the EU blocking statute would be invoked – banning bloc companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran, along with prohibiting EU courts from enforcing them.
Created in 1996, the statute was never invoked against Washington, rendering it toothless. For the past year, Brussels took no clear action to reject Trump’s JCPOA pullout and reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions.
Instead, delay and equivocation defined its actions, opposing the US withdrawal rhetorically alone, doing nothing to fulfill its commitments.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini did no more than urge the Trump regime to grant waiver permission for bloc countries to continue normal economic, financial and trade relations with Iran — a request falling on deaf ears in Washington.
EU companies wound down their purchases of Iranian oil, no longer buying it. European banks, insurers, shippers, and most other companies yielded to US pressure, suspending normal trade and financial relations with the Islamic Republic.
Italian refiner Saras said “(w)e cannot defy the United States.” Virtually all other major EU companies reacted the same way, fearing loss of access to the US market if reject Trump regime sanctions on Iran.
That’s where things have stood for the past year, Tehran’s patience wearing thin. On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani’s government revealed countermeasures to Trump’s JCPOA withdrawal.
It gave parties to the agreement “60 days to meet their commitments, especially in the banking and oil sectors,” adding:
“Whenever our (legitimate) demands are met, we will, to the same extent, resume the commitments. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic will be suspending more commitments stage by stage.”
“In line with protecting the security and national interests of the Iranian people,” the Supreme National Security Council said it’ll suspend some of its voluntary commitments, relating to enrichment and storage of uranium and heavy water — according to its rights under JCPOA articles 26 and 36.
“Iran stands ready to continue its consultations with the remaining parties to the deal at all levels, but it will swiftly and firmly react to any irresponsible measure, including returning the case (of Iran’s legal nuclear program) to the Security Council or imposing more sanctions.”
The letter stressed Tehran’s patience over the past year following the US pullout, giving other signatories adequate time to fulfill their commitments.
Brussels failed to implement “practical measures” to circumvent unlawful Trump regime sanctions.
As a result, the Islamic Republic’s only option is to “reduce its commitments” under the JCPOA.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country is not withdrawing from the agreement.
It’s acting according to its legal rights under Articles 26 and 36. Its announcement is “an opportunity for other parties to the deal to take required measures, and not just issue (meaningless) statements,” Zarif stressed.
Trump regime hardliners will likely impose further sanctions in response to Iran’s announcement.
Will military action follow at a later time? For the past 40 years, the US sought regime change in Iran, current actions against its government more extreme and menacing than anything earlier.
If Trump regime war on the Islamic Republic by other means fails, US military action to topple its government is possible, maybe likely.
It’s why the world community should go all out to prevent what could be regionally devastating if Trump regime hardliners go this far.
Note: In response to Iran’s JCPOA announcement, Russia said it’ll work with its signatories to save the deal. The jury is very much out on if it’s possible longer-term.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."