FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Iran nuclear deal: Obama focused on positives, Trump is magnifying negatives
Posted:Oct 17, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Abhijit Iyer-Mitra 
 
Recently, United States President Donald Trump kicked the onus of the US backing out of the Iran nuclear deal to the US Congress. The question is how we interpret this technically, in terms of domestic politics and in terms of geopolitics.
 
How one analyses this professionally (as opposed to blind Trump hate) depends on which side one takes on the JCPOA, the technical term for the Iran deal. Those supporting the deal point to fact that Iran’s immediate ability to weaponise has been taken away, and that it will not be able to do until 2030 at the earliest, if at all. They also claim that an unprecedented set of intrusive inspections aimed at building trust between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran will ensure enforcement of the deal and verify Iran’s intent. More important and accurately they also claim that this sets a very good carrot/stick pathway for other errant states to re-enter the NPT fold.
 
Those who oppose the deal point out that these inspections are subject to a sunset clause, that is when the IAEA certifies continued good behaviour, these intrusive inspections will end, subsequent to which Iran may start cheating again. They also argue that intent can be gauged in other ways – such as Iran’s resurgent ballistic missile programme. After all why would a country committed to staying in the NPT want expensive long-range missiles whose only purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads? What of the fact that China has facilitated an extensive network of nuclear proliferation between North Korea, Pakistan and Iran and has done so with absolute impunity? In fact what is to prevent Iran, when it has perfected its missiles, to simply buy an off-the-shelf bomb from an increasingly desperate and isolated North Korea, as the Syrians bought an off-the-shelf reactor from the same vendor? The problem is supporters of the deal simply refuse to discuss these facts.
 
A less solid argument from detractors of the JCPOA is that it has done nothing to stop Iran’s aggressive pursuit of foreign policy goals through violent means – specifically support to Shia movements in Sunni-ruled countries and the Hezbollah against Israel. The JCPOA, to them, has given Iran the right to “pursue terrorism free from sanctions”. To be fair the JCPOA was about controlling Iran’s nuclear programme, not about controlling its support of terrorists.
 
That said there are tangible short to medium term benefits of the JCPOA. But in the interests of absolute objectivity, there are equally good, long term arguments against it. Ultimately whether you choose for or against depends on what remains unsaid by both sides is that this deal, like any other, hinges on trust.
 
Trust of course is one of the most difficult things to achieve, when your political goals are so diametrically opposed to each other. Under Barack Obama, the JCPOA was seen as merely one chip, in a larger goal towards normalising relations with Iran. This accepted that Iran was indispensable towards stabilising Central Asia, specifically Afghanistan where its interests were more aligned with the West than Pakistan.
 
After all, if Iran were to provide alternate access to the US to supply its forces there, the salience of Pakistan, and its continuing ability to one hand take US money and on the other have US troops killed with that money, ends for good. On the other hand, Iran’s positions in West Asia are frequently in conflict with the West, be it support for democratisation in Bahrain, the promotion of sectarianism by what is believed to be an Iranian-influenced government in Baghdad, support for Hezbollah and the Syrian government, and a trenchant opposition to Israel.
 
While the Obama administration preferred to focus on the areas of agreement, the Trump administration focuses on the areas of disagreement. Trump clearly understands the consequences of his actions on his Afghanistan policy as well as on non-proliferation goals in the short term and this may explain some of his reluctance. What we can however be sure about is that he is determined to pass the consequences of his actions onto Congress, in much the same way as Congress chose to pass on the consequences to Obama.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
Afghanistan's leaders have asked the Security Council to mobilise international pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, United States Permanent Representative said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters here after the Council's weekend visit to Afghanistan and meetings with the nation's leaders, Haley said, &l
 
read-more
As the Myanmar government’s violent policy towards its Rohingya Muslims drew increasing international condemnation in 2016, the country’s sometime icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to speak out for the persecuted minority.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599