Move to decertify nuclear deal will likely be symbolic but could have major implications.
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has warned that the United States will be condemned by the “world” if it violates the nuclear accords. President Trump is expected to “decertify” the deal later this week, arguing that it is not in America’s best interests. Decertification by itself will not put an end to the agreement but would endanger it.
Rouhani has taken to state TV preemptively to blast the United States and the Trump Administration specifically. Iran’s economy was in shambles under global sanctions. Since the Nuclear Accords have been put in place, conditions within Iran have improved markedly. Rouhani warned:
If the United States violates (the nuclear deal), the entire world will condemn America, not Iran
On the 2016 campaign trail, President Trump lambasted the Obama Administration and the Nuclear Accords. Trump called the nuclear accords the “worst deal ever” and promised to tear it up. Many American voters seemed to agree.
Administration officials have suggested that Trump will not “tear up” the deal, at least not yet. Instead, Trump will ask Congress to tighten oversight on Iran. Doing so, however, could spark a breakdown in diplomatic relations.
Thus far, Iran has resisted pressure. While on state TV, Rouhani lauded the benefits of the agreement. Most importantly, lifting sanctions has made it easier for Iran to sell oil. Iran has some of the largest oil reserves in the world but struggled to export oil while under sanctions.
Rouhani also blasted Trump directly:
We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps
Many world governments, including Russia, Germany, and the EU have urged the United States to stick to the deal. EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan warned of ‘Implications for the Credibility’ of the United States.
Critics Warn That Iran Could Still Pursue Nuclear Weapons
Iran has some of the largest oil deposits in the world. The country isn’t starved for energy. So why then does Iran want to pursue nuclear technology? The Iranian government has claimed on several occasions that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful and only to generate energy. However, many believe the country is pursuing nuclear weapons technology clandestinely.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has stated:
“Despite the 2015 JCPOA, known as the nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear weapons program remains operational and fully geared up. All seven components of the organization tasked with weaponization, known as SPND, remain intact and away from the eyes of the international community. Contrary to what was promised as ‘the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime,’ none of the key nuclear sites of Iran, which are primarily located in military facilities, have been inspected by the IAEA.”
For now, it appears unlikely that Trump will pursue Iran with any zeal. If Trump does decertify the deal, many expect the move to be symbolic. However, given how high tensions are globally, even a symbolic move could have major ramifications.