Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal
Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal
In yesterday’s Washington Post it was reported that there will be no further negotiations between the US and Iran (and other parties) in Vienna over the US and Iran rejoining the JCPOA nuclear agreement that Iran had been adhering to when Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018, then reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, with Iran then starting to violate the agreement in various ways starting a year later. President Biden had promised to rejoin the agreement as part of his campaign, but negotiations on doing so had bogged down.
It was completely unsurprising that the moderate Iranian President Rouhani would be succeeded by a hardliner, Raisi, who is due to take office next month. Nevertheless, there had been reports that Supreme Leader Khamenei in Iran was supporting completing the negotiations with the team of Rouhani before Raisi taking office as a way of getting the deal done and off the desk as it were so Raisi would not have to deal with it. But apparently, he has changed his mind, and if in fact there is to be a successful negotiation and a resumption of both nations rejoining the agreement, it will be done by a team assembled by Raisi after he takes office. I consider this to be bad news as it may indicate no deal will be able to be made.
The report suggested that most of the practical issues had been resolved by negotiations that have happened so far. These involve the timing of how both sides undo their respective actions that pulled them out of the agreement practically. For the US this would be the matter of ending the various economic sanctions while for Iran this would be undoing their advanced uranium enrichment programs they have been engaging in that are beyond the agreement’s limits. These were non-trivial matters to agree to, but reportedly the deal on them was cut. Maybe the best that can be hoped for is that when negotiations resume, at least this agreement is in place to work from.
So, what remains to hold things up? Unfortunately on both sides, it seems to be matters being demanded by hardliners who basically do not want the agreement to be resumed, unrealistic demands. From the Iran side, it is a demand that somehow the US never leave the deal again. Well, maybe this is something the Biden people ought to be willing to grant. But the problem is that it is not something that can really be promised in a credible way given that if Trump or somebody like him gets elected president in 2024 or later, there is simply no way that person can be kept from leaving the deal again as Trump did. Biden can make promises, but there is no guarantee they can be kept. I am not sure what the Iran side wants beyond some promise that cannot be kept necessarily.
On the US side, it is a demand that Iran agrees to follow up talks on such matters that the Trump administration had wanted, and the US had tried to get but could not in the original negotiations back in 2015 for the deal. These include limits on Iranian missile programs and influence on various militias in other nations, such as Iraq and Syria. These might be nice to have, but Iran refused to accept them in 2015, and it has been clear all along that Khamenei is not going to accept them now. Maybe Khamenei could agree to such negotiations and then once both parties rejoin the agreement lets them start but just lets them bog down and go nowhere. But for now, he does not seem to be willing to do that, and if he was, he would have let the current negotiating team make such a deal.
So we seem to be looking at a situation where hardliners on both sides are blocking a final agreement by making what are clearly unrealistic demands. This is not a good sign at all for a favorable resolution of this at all. This should have been a no-brainer for the Biden administration, and they simply should have rejoined the deal upfront, especially once they got an agreement from Iran to rejoin it too without all these extra demands. This is a failure with Biden letting Trump get the better of him in the end.
Trump’s decision to abrogate the treaty was always potentially reversible. Trump’s decision to mark the US as a bad-faith partner in treaties will be difficult or impossible to reverse. Trump (and his Russian master) got what he wanted.
US treaties, like the US dollar, are only backed by the full faith and credit of the US government. When that is shaken, the fiction of belief is exposed and the US loses. We are only as good as our word.
The agreement was never a treaty and the consequences of that decision were understood by every other party to the agreement, not just Iran. The agreement was rejected by Congress quite handily, but the bizarre form of the process essentially required a veto override of 2/3 in House and Senate to stop the Obama administration from implementing it for the period they held the White House. Hard to see any reason anyone thinks the US was a bad-faith partner as Obama kept his side of his deal, but it never was anyone else’s deal to keep if they had other ideas.
What are we talking about here?
“for the period they held the White House.”
2, 3, 8 years?
Is it this plan, Barkley is discussing in his post? “On 22 May 2015 President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 into law; this legislation passed by the Senate in a 98–1 vote and the House in a 400–25 vote, and was approved by Obama on 22 May 2015. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
“Hard to see any reason anyone thinks the US was a bad-faith partner “
LOL! Pretty easy for me to see. Apparently, it’s pretty easy for Iran to see. I suspect plenty of other nations find it easy to see.
Hard to see why anyone would call it an “agreement” if everyone knew that it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
It is not a treaty, as that would take a two thirds support in the Senate, and the GOPs there opposed it, following Netanyahu’s influence, who always ran on hysterical anti-Iran platforms, although senior Israeli military and intel officials supported it, saying it put any possible Iranian nuclear program in a box. Talking Trump into pulling out of it when Iran was keeping to it and him imposing sanctions led to Iran then leaving it, with now much closer to having nuclear weapons, a sign of what a total flop for Israeli security this move was.
But it was a legal agreement, and all parties were obeying it until Trump pulled the US out of it in 2018. This is a completely indefensible act, one of the worst things Trump did in his entire awful administration.
Let’s deal with some reality here instead of Google revisionism. Yes, the Iran deal “got” the votes that run is talking about, but those were to establish a Congressional review of the deal. When the review was conducted and votes were taken, well the House rejected the deal 269 to 162. In the Senate, cloture to end filibuster by Democrats failed 3 times but in each vote those wanting to move on to a final vote were in majority of 56 or 58 depending on the attempt. It was the President’s party to held the filibuster and it was unquestionably to prevent a negative vote on the deal. If the actions had gone through to a conclusion, the form of it would have been exposed to a Presidential veto, so the deal flipped from needing a 2/3 approval in the Senate as a treaty only to essentially needing a 2/3 disapproval in both chambers. Because of the bizarre form of this “review” it is a bit hard to really say Congress was totally serious, but nonetheless no vote after the review indicated even majority support, let alone treaty level consensus. The whold world saw this and every country party to the deal was sophisticated enough to understood that the deal was with the Obama administration without backing of the United States in a constitutionally meaningful manner. There was a lot of commentary – national and international – on this during the 2016 Presidential election and both candidates’ campaigns acknowledged that electing Trump would likely spell the end (temporarily as it probably is going to turn out) to US participation in this deal. Whether the deal is in our national interest or not is a different matter.
Of course we have seen presidents in the last two decades, starting with W. Bush and the ABM treaty with Russia, but also including Trump on several treaties, notably on trade, simply decide to abrogate them, even though they supposedly have more weight than a mere agreement like the JCPOA.
As it is, there was no justification for the US withdrawing, and doing so has not remotely led to anything improved over what was going on before. Netanyahu liked it because he likes seeing Iran economically weak, thereby hoping they will send less arms to Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza. But the latter seem to have been quite well armed in this most recent conflict, so even Bibi did not get all that much out of making the Iranian people suffer sever economic hardship. And now Iran has a hardline leadership, something anybody with a shred of intelligence could see coming as a result of this incredibly stupid move by Trump.
Thanks for following through with thorough follow-up responses to the comments on this thread.