After Macron, Now it’s Merkel’s Turn to Persuade Trump Not to Snub Iran Nuclear Deal
U.S. President Donald Trump has been busy over the past few days hosting an array of European state guests. On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington to meet the billionaire president in a three-hour visit. Previously, French President Emmanuel Macron met Trump in a three-day state visit.
According to VOAnews, Trump’s European counterparts’ state visits are seen as a joint effort to persuade Trump to stick with the Iran nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015.
Both Macron and Merkel have warned the White House that abandoning the 2015 multinational Iran deal would be very risky and might push Tehran, capital of Iran, to resume its blocked nuclear program.
Trump has repeatedly slammed that the Iran nuclear deal is “the worst deal ever negotiated.” He stated he would stick with the Obama-era accord if Washington and its European allies could “fix” the treaty.
President Trump cites three flaws in the 2015 deal, with one being a failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program. Secondly, Trump criticizes the conditions under which international inspectors can suspect Iranian nuclear sites. Lastly, Trump is critical of “sunset” clauses in the Iran deal, under which key limits on the Iranian nuclear program start to end after ten years.
Trump set a deadline of May 12 by which to decide whether the U.S. will stay in the Iran deal. Several countries such as Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China see the agreement as the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Iran warns that leaving the nuclear deal will have severe consequences
Tehran warned that Washington would face severe consequences if Trump scraps the nuclear treaty Iran signed with world powers in 2015.
“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments..the Iranian government will firmly react,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated in a speech in Tabriz.
Rouhani continued by saying that his country is ready for all possible consequences and situations should one of the treaty signatories betray the agreement.
Rouhani’s warning is echoed by French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal. In an interview with Ynetnews, she raised a concern that the U.S would trigger a war by pulling out of the nuclear agreement.
“The possibility of war exists,” the ambassador warned.
What will happen if Trump scraps the accord?
If Washington chooses to walk away from the nuclear treaty Trump will need congressional approval to reimpose any new economic sanctions on Tehran. Such sanctions were removed during the negotiation of the deal in 2015.
Trump’s attempt to find ways to blame Iran for the deal’s failure also severely undermines the systems in place that supervise Iran’s nuclear activity, leading to the possibility of increased proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA is proven to be useful for non-proliferation efforts, as a statement issued by 80 top nuclear non-proliferation experts said in September of last year.
“We are concerned by statements from the Trump administration that it may be seeking to create a false pretext for accusing Iran of noncooperation or noncompliance with the agreement in order to trigger the reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran,” the joint statement said.
The U.S.’ defiance of the Iran nuclear deal will pave the way for China and Russia to exert their influence. Russia and the United States already stand on opposite sides of the fence in the Syrian War. Should Iran face sanctions from Washington and the E.U., China and Russia may have an increased opportunity to boost their investment in Iran.