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Experts Predict Vast Ramifications of US Pullout From Iran Nuclear Deal

By Santo D. Banerjee

NEW YORK (IDN) – President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran Nuclear Deal is fraught with multiple imponderables, according to experts. It's "a costly mistake that can hold wide-ranging ramifications beyond its strictly nuclear parameters," declared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize winner Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

The decision "not only blows up a functioning agreement, it also deals a significant blow to U.S. credibility as a partner in contract and diplomacy," warned the 2017 Nobel Peace laureate ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). [P 04] ARABICHINDI | JAPANESE TEXT VERSION VERSION  PDF

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) termed the U.S. pullout "a dangerous move" that "will have major international consequences". Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the independent Arms Control Association said the decision was "an irresponsible act of foreign policy malpractice".

The decision undoes many years of constructive and patient diplomacy between Iran and the P5+1, which produced a landmark agreement in non-proliferation, said Pugwash president Sergio Duarte and Secretary-General Paolo Cotta Ramusino in a statement on May 9.

"It [the agreement] not only imposed upon Iran the most intrusive and comprehensive inspection regime, but the International Atomic Energy Agency repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance with the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] JCPOA, providing a measure of certainty regarding Iran’s nuclear program."

The Pugwash statement welcomed Iran President Rouhani's remark that they will consult with other partners to preserve the deal. "In this vein, we also welcome the statements by the remaining signatories that they remain committed to implementation of the agreement for the sake of common security."

The Pugwash leaders urged all parties involved to avoid further actions that might increase tension, particularly to a precarious Middle East. The region is already beset with conflicts that will require diplomatic engagement from all states to change the dynamics causing insecurity. Now is a time for responsible leadership from those remaining in the JCPOA and we call on the international community to support them in this endeavour, the Pugwash statement said.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation based in Santa Barbara warned in a statement: "The decision to withdraw from the treaty: 1. Makes it more likely Iran will pursue nuclear weapons. 2. Makes war between the U.S. and Iran more likely. 3. Separates the U.S. from its major allies. 4. Shows U.S. commitments are not reliable. 5. Further reinforces lack of U.S. leadership in the world. 6. Will likely have adverse effects on achieving nuclear deal with N. Korea."

The statement added: "Trump’s decision puts America’s relations with its allies into new and uncertain territory. U.S. allies are committed to staying in the deal, thus raising the prospect of diplomatic and economic disputes as the U.S. reimposes stringent sanctions on Iran. Importantly, it also raises the potential for increased tensions with Russia and China, also parties to the agreement.

"The decision flies in the face of intense lobbying by European leaders who made numerous attempts to produce fixes to the deal that would satisfy Trump. Trump’s prior advisers had persuaded him twice last year not to go this route. However, his newest set of considerably more hawkish advisers, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, did not act to restrain Trump this time around."

David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation commented, “This may be the worst foreign policy decision of our time. It vividly demonstrates the downsides to having a U.S. president who is an incompetent bully. He appears more intent on punishing Iran than on maintaining a well-worked out deal, supported by our major allies, to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. This is yet another reason that there is urgency to impeach Mr. Trump.”

The Washington-based Arms Control Association's executive director Kimball denounced the decision not to renew U.S. sanctions waivers in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal between the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran, known as the JCPOA.

“President Trump’s decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal, which has successfully blocked Iran’s potential pathways to a nuclear bomb, is an irresponsible act of foreign policy malpractice,” charged Kimball.

"Reimposing sanctions absent Iranian violations is a twofold abrogation of U.S. commitments under the JCPOA and it is critical that members of Congress and Washington’s P5+1 partners denounce Trump’s actions as a breach of the accord. Not only did the United States commit not to reimpose sanctions, Washington also committed not to interfere with the full realization of sanctions relief,” explained Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy for the Arms Control Association.

“Trump’s action today does not kill the agreement, but it jeopardizes the future of the deal unless other partners, particularly the E3 (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), take immediate steps to insulate their companies and banks which are engaged in trade with Iran from U.S. secondary sanctions,” warned Davenport.

"We call on the E3, Russia, China, and other responsible states to pursue implementation of the JCPOA without the United States and implement measures that block the application of U.S. secondary sanctions. We also urge Tehran to continue abiding by the limits of the deal. Resuming troublesome nuclear activities limited by the accord will not serve Iran’s interests and risks provoking a deeper crisis,” Davenport said.

"European-U.S. efforts to negotiate a supplemental agreement intended to address Trump's complaints failed to yield results because Trump stubbornly refused to guarantee that he would uphold U.S. commitments under the JCPOA and demanded that Europe help to unilaterally impose major changes to the original terms of the agreement," Kimball said.

“The Iran nuclear deal is a strong nonproliferation agreement that delivers permanent and robust international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities, strictly limits its capacity to enrich uranium and prohibits other sensitive nuclear activities. Through his reckless actions, Trump is precipitating a proliferation crisis rather than working with our allies to develop a long-term diplomatic strategy to build on the agreement in the years ahead,” Kimball charged. [IDN-InDepthNews – 11 May 2018]

Photo: Trump ending U.S. participation in Iran Nuclear Deal. Credit: White House.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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