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The US Withdrawal from the Iran Deal

Granth writes, with the announcement of withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, President Trump emphasized upon the fact that his government will again impose “highest level of economic sanctions” on Iran since it will not allow “a regime that chants ‘Death to America’” to acquire nuclear arsenal.

The President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump, formally announced on 8 May 2018 (Tuesday) at the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, that he was withdrawing from the Nuclear Deal that was signed by Iran and six other countries led by US in 2015. Mr. Trump who called this deal “decaying and rotten” also exclaimed that it was an “embarrassment” to him “as a citizen”.[1] The Iran Nuclear deal was one of the leading foreign achievements of Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barrack Obama and the Tuesday’s decision has isolated the US from its European allies.[2]

The deal that was signed on 14 July 2015 in Vienna, significantly limited Iran’s nuclear capability for more than a decade in exchange for the lifting up of international oil and financial sanctions. The other nations that were a part of the agreement were the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Union and Islamic Republic of Iran itself.[3] Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to reduce the size of its stockpiles of already enriched uranium that is helpful in making reactor fuel and also nuclear weapons for 15 years and the number of centrifuges that are installed to enrich the uranium for 10 years. It had also agreed to the modification of its heavy water facility so that it was unable to produce plutonium suitable to manufacture a bomb[4].

With this announcement, President Trump emphasized upon the fact that his government will again impose “highest level of economic sanctions” on Iran since it will not allow “a regime that chants ‘Death to America’” to acquire nuclear arsenal. The re-imposed sanctions will cover the important and strategic areas of the economy such as the energy sector, petrochemical and financial sectors. The reason that the he was withdrawing, was because he felt that the JCPOA had failed to completely deal with the threat that was pertained because of the country’s missile program and that it never included a strong enough mechanism for the verifications and inspections.[5]

US’s European allies had pleaded to President Trump for not to exit the deal, but failed to change his mind and therefore their pleas got ignored. His administration has been forcing these countries to isolate Iran and stay away from any commercial deals with it. Immediately after the announcement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that they would wait for a few weeks to speak to their allies and then come to a conclusion. He also criticized the US government of not respecting its commitments. Other countries such as UK, France and Germany have said that they regret such a decision. Even the Russians condemned the Americans and conveyed its disappointment. Top leaders of the European Union said they would try their best to preserve this deal.[6]

This step has also received a criticism from the preceding President, Barrack Obama, who said that this deal was in the country’s interest and walking out of it will be turning their backs on to their closest allies. The United Nations Secretary General too expressed his deep concerns over the withdrawal. But this move has also garnered a lot of appreciation too. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, who was critical of this deal since 2015, fully supported the bold action of Mr. Trump’s pull out from a “disastrous” deal. Even Saudi Arabia welcomed such a step of the US. [7]

The US withdrawal can also have a lot of implications for India as well. The first impact will be the rise in oil prices. Iran is India’s third largest supplier of oil and a rise will hit both, India’s inflation rate as well as Indian rupee. Secondly, India was trying to develop berths at the Chabahar port and new sanctions may slower down that process depending upon how harsh are the sanctions implemented. It can also impact the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) of which India is a founder since it was ratified in 2002. If a country or its institutions that lie along the way of the corridor, decides to adhere to the US policy towards Iran, it will immediately affect this.[8]

Overall, such a harsh step has certainly affected the world politics. USA is slowly getting isolated by their close allies and such steps are not good for US’s own image. In the future, any country would be skeptical about signing an agreement with the United States as they would not want it to withdraw from the agreement later. Such a step might also have an uncertainty over the negotiations in the upcoming summit where Trump will meet his North Korean counterpart, Mr. Kim Jong-un, which may lead to a risk of increasing nuclear armory in the Korean peninsula and maybe a future war, instead of the region’s denuclearization. In such a situation, leaders should think about the consequences about such a step where a country can restart its uranium enrichment and create nuclear weapons which can threaten the security of a region and create tensions. It is only with time that we will know about the consequences of such a step and whether it solves the problem or worsens it.

The political leaders should also think before making such promises, of withdrawal from nuclear deals to the public under the pretext of “election campaign”. And even if they make so, they should think about its implications for other countries and for itself and then implement it (if required). But in most cases, it should be avoided. But the US President, who promised in 2016 to withdraw from it, blindly took the move, without thinking about its implications. US today, has proved that it doesn’t stand true to its commitment, does not respect other commitments and can, at any point of time walk off from such agreements if it feels it doesn’t suit its national interest.

 

[1] Iran nuclear deal: Trump pulls US out in break with Europe allies. (2018, May 09). BBC News. Retrieved May 09, 2018, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44045957

[2] Landler, M. (2018, May 08). Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned. The New York Times. Retrieved May 09, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html

[3] Gordon, M., & Sanger, D. (2015, July 14). Deal Reached on Iran Nuclear Program; Limits on Fuel Would Lessen With Time. The New York Times. Retrieved May 09, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-deal-is-reached-after-long-negotiations.html

[4]Ibid. source 1

[5] George, V. (2018, May 08). Trump announces U.S. withdrawal from ‘defective’ Iran deal. The Hindu. Retrieved May 09, 2018, from http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trump-poised-to-pull-us-out-of-iran-deal/article23816600.ece

[6] Morrison, S. (2018, May 09). What is the Iran nuclear deal and why did Donald Trump pull out of the agreement? JCPoA explained. Evening Standard. Retrieved May 09, 2018, from https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/iran-nuclear-deal-latest-what-is-the-jcpoa-and-why-has-donald-trump-pulled-out-of-the-agreement-a3833841.html

[7]Ibid. source 1

[8] Haidar, S. (2018, May 09). 5 ways India could be affected by U.S. decision to pull out of Iran nuclear deal. The Hindu. Retrieved May 09, 2018, from http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/5-ways-india-could-be-affected-by-the-us-decision-to-withdraw-from-iran-nuclear-deal/article23820123.ece

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