Iran Nuclear Deal: America isolated from its core European allies

Mohammad Amjad from Virginia, USA | Published: May 13, 2018 21:20:16 | Updated: May 14, 2018 21:58:06

An Israeli tank in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. —Photo: Reuters

The latest measure by President Donald Trump of the United States of America was to withdraw from another international deal on May 08, 2018. It was the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  (JCPOA) or Iran Nuclear Deal. The deal was signed on July 14, 2015 and had unanimous endorsement of the Security Council of the United Nations on July 20, 2015. It was signed by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany with the Islamic Republic of Iran. As such, there now appears to be a split between the United States and its three most powerful allies in Europe: France, United Kingdom and Germany. The latter countries are not following the path of US. In a joint statement, leaders of these three countries expressed "regret and concern" while saying that they wanted to sustain the Iran agreement while the chief diplomat of the European Union (EU), Federica Mogherini, declared in Brussels on May 08, "EU is determined to preserve the Iranian nuclear deal despite the withdrawal by US," and appealed to Iranian people and its leaders to stick with the accord. As of now, both China and Russia, two members with veto powers, have declared that they will remain with the international agreement.

Meanwhile, the Russian federation has said that there may be danger looming for future nuclear talks with North Korea. This is what immediate past US President Barack Obama has written, who said, "At a time when we are all rooting diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from JCPOA or  risks losing a deal that accomplishes---with Iran--- the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans."

President Donald Trump is expected to meet North Korean leader on June 12, 2018 in Singapore to have a summit on the denuclearisation of Korean peninsula.

Possibly the decision of withdrawal from the international nuclear deal with Iran has been influenced by a drama enacted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30, 2018, that involved stolen Iranian documents detailing past nuclear weapons development programmes and claiming that it was a failure by Iran to declare those activities. On the other hand, the Israeli Prime Minister praised US President on May 09, 2018 for pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel was followed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who praised President Trump for pulling out of the deal with Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been assigned to monitor Iranian compliance, however, has reportedly said that Iran "had no credible indication of achieving explosive nuclear weapons". Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would bypass Washington and negotiate with other signatories of the deal calling the US move unacceptable.

It may be recalled that the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany reached an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran on July 14, 2015. The UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the agreement on July 20 of the same year by establishing monitoring system for Iran's nuclear programme termed 'Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)'. There is, however, constitutional loophole on the side of the United States, because President Obama had not succeeded in obtaining Congressional approval for the nuclear deal with Iran. Although it required twelve years to reach such an agreement with Iran, JOPOA is a model for inspections and verification regime conducted by intelligence communities plus International Atomic Energy Agency. By now, Iran has reportedly destroyed the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons grade plutonium. The country has also removed two-thirds of its centrifuges and placed those at the command of international monitoring system, apart from destroying 97 per cent of its enriched uranium.

The newly appointed US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has further complicated issues with Iran by saying the German companies in Iran should wind down operations immediately, which was widely perceived as a threat. Business associates and leading European politicians lashed out at him on the first day of his assignment in Germany.

The basic concept of the nuclear deal with Iran is based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of the United Nations, which came into effect from March 05, 1970. The critics in the United States and Israel should understand the basic concept of the NPT. Israel has no right to criticise the deal in the first place, because it did not accede to the NPT although it has acquired weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs. Iran is the country that has gone beyond its obligation to impress others about its peaceful intentions, which is reflected in its signing of an additional protocol to safeguard the agreement. Israeli Prime Minister described Iran as a terrorist state, but Israel being a so-called democratic country has, time and again, established itself as the terrorist by oppressing Palestinians and the inhabitants of Gaza strip in particular. Avi Shlaim, a Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and author of 'The Iron wall: Israel and the Arab World', had said, "The biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel's insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash".

It seems President Donald Trump is now trapped in the conspiracy hatched by Israel and the Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Cooperation Council against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Firing of missiles by both Israel and Iran from Syrian soil immediately after the withdrawal from the nuclear deal by the United States has increased tensions in the Middle East. According to Dr. Trita Parse, the current President of National Iranian American council, Trump has eliminated all diplomatic options and he clearly does not have any political will to pursue diplomacy. Meanwhile, UN  Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that "Israel and Iran's 'tit for tat' strikes in Syria could quickly boil over to a regional conflagration." It is likely that another war is inevitable in the Middle East if both parties do not exercise restraint.

Mohammad Amjad Hossain is a retired diplomat of Bangladesh.

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