Opinion: Why Donald Trump wants to scrap Iran nuclear deal so badly

WION Web Team Delhi, India May 08, 2018, 09.31 AM(IST) Written By: Sparshita Saxena

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Trump's opposition toward the deal was quite out in the public ever since he started campaigning for the US Presidential elections in 2016

"I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00 pm," that is how the US President decided to escalate tensions and tease the Iran nuke deal issue further.

While all eyes are set on the fate of the 'landmark' nuclear accord, signed in the year 2015 between Iran and the P5 +1 countries, Trump's announcement is likely to create an aftermath which will ripple across the world for long. 

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Trump's opposition towards the deal was quite out in the public ever since he started campaigning for the US Presidential elections 2016. During his campaign, Trump had openly expressed dissatisfaction with the deal and had vowed to scrap the accord on the very first day of assuming office... it didn't happen. 

"Never ever ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran -- and I mean never," Donald Trump as Republican presidential candidate, September 9, 2015, Washington DC
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What did happen was Trump administration's growing persistence in slapping more sanctions on Tehran and lobbying against the deal that Trump recently described as a "MESS" created by former US Secretary of State, John Kerry. 

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It all started last year when Donald Trump accused Tehran of not complying with the nuke pact. He went on to state that the deal was not aligned with America's national interest. The US President described the deal as "one-sided" maintaining that it did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme as well as its role in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Trump went on to rake the fire further by imposing more sanctions on Iran. In July 2017, Washington announced fresh sanctions against Iran, targeting 18 individuals or entities for supporting the country's ballistic missile programme or radical groups.

Trump described the deal as "one-sided" that it did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its role in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
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"In response to these continued Iranian threats, the Administration today announces that it has designated 18 entities and individuals supporting Iran's ballistic missile programme and for supporting Iran's military procurement or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as an Iran-based transnational criminal organisation and associated persons," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced.

Ms Nauert also accused Iran of supporting radical groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad "that threaten Israel and stability in the Middle East".

Iran continues to test and develop ballistic missiles in direct defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, the spokesperson said.

It has been a longstanding complaint that the previous administration allowed the nuclear deal to be the "tail that wags the Iran policy dog", the official said, adding that the Trump administration is determined to not repeat that mistake.

"The previous administration allowed the nuclear deal to be the tail that wags the Iran policy dog," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert.
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Donald Trump then went to seek a Congressional nod on measures that could have tightened the nuke deal further, calling for more stringent sanctions on Tehran -- the proposal fell flat, the Congress didn't pass any bill that would “address the deal’s many flaws” that the US President referred to.

Trump, having left with no option, made demands on the nuclear accord, threatening to pull out in case his demands are not met. 

Trump noted that unless European allies fix the "terrible flaws" in the Iran nuclear deal by May 12, he will refuse to extend sanctions relief for oil-producing Iran. He had previously termed the deal as "terrible", "insane" and "ridiculous".

Iran has put forward a stern stance on the accord stating Donald Trump's demand to amend Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers was unacceptable. The country warned the United States of facing "regret of historic proportions" if it quits the deal. 

"We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord. If America leaves the nuclear accord, this will entail historic remorse for it," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's theatrical presentation last month on 'evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program' further pressured Trump, suggesting United States' exit as inevitable. 

French President and a close political ally of the US President, Emmanuel Macron, has expressed great distress over the scenario around the JCPOA. Macron had previously noted that he sees no "Plan-B" for the deal and that the deal can't have an alternative. 

Macron recently anticipated United States' exit from the 2015 nuke accord fueled by "his (Trump's) own domestic reasons”.

Also Read: What could be Trump's possible options on Iran nuclear deal?

Trump will get rid of this deal on his own for domestic reasons: French President Emmanuel Macron
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Britain, France and Germany proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria’s war, in a bid to persuade US President Donald Trump to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. US sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh “waivers” to suspend them on May 12.

UN secretary-general, António Guterres also emphasised the need for the deal to stay stating that no deal should be scrapped until there is a better agreement or an alternative in place. He called the accord a diplomatic victory which should be preserved. 

Reports suggest that an alternative Iran nuke agreement may already be underway to mitigate the aftermath in case Trump pronounces measures unfavourable to the deal. However, the biggest challenge will be to get Trump to accept the result.

JCPOA's fate will be sealed in a few hours from now, according to Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran, Trump's exit from the agreement, "would be a very bad precedent if the United States sends this message to the international community that the length or the duration of any agreement would depend on the duration of the presidency". 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)