Friday, September 15, 2017

What Happens If Señor Trumpanzee Refuses To Recertify The Iran Nuclear Deal?


The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the fancy way of referring to the Iran nuclear deal agreed to in July, 2015b by Iran, the U.S., the E.U, Russia, Germany, France, the U.K. and China. It gave Iran relief from U.S., E.U, and UN nuclear-related economic sanctions in return for Iran agreeing to monitored and verified elimination of its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, while cutting its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reducing by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years and not to building any new heavy-water facilities and limiting Uranium-enrichment activities to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges. At the time, the NY Times editorial board wrote that the agreement was "potentially one of the most consequential accords in recent diplomatic history, with the ability not just to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but also to reshape Middle East politics." And then in lumbering Señor Trumpanzee. Congressional Republicans were hostile to the agreement even before Trump's election. In fact, they had vowed to kill it even before the wording was released.

A NYTimes analysis by Jennifer Steinhauer made it clear that Republican opposition to the agreement was "born of genuine distaste for the deal's details, inherent distrust of President Obama, intense loyalty to Israel and an expansive view of the role that sanctions have played beyond preventing Iran's nuclear abilities." Conservatives-- including AIPAC-owned members of Congress like Chuck Schumer-- have never given up their hope to kill the deal. Trump's intense emotional hostility to the agreement is belied by his Regime having certified a month and a half ago, in July, that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement.

That said, Trump still wants to decertify the JCPOA. If he does, what happens? If Congress does nothing, the JCPOA stays in effect. If Congress imposes new sanctions on Iran, that would likely blow up the deal. The other signatories would be severely pissed since there's been no Iranian violations. With no JCPOA, Iran would be free to increase nuclear fuel production or even build a bomb. I turned to 3 progressive members of Congress who I knew are watching the developments closely.

El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke is running for Ted Cruz's Senate seat now-- you can help him defeat Cruz here-- but as a member of the House Armed Service Committee he sits on both the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities and the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. I gather than most Democrats in Congress agree with the simple, straightforward assessment he gave me this morning: "Without JCPOA the Middle East and the rest of the world become a lot more dangerous. It's the best way we have to check Iran's progress towards a nuclear weapon. It will be very hard to build a coalition of necessary countries to help us if we unilaterally withdraw."

Ro Khanna (D-CA) pointed out, also this morning, that "if Trump does not issue a compliance certification, Congress is NOT required to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Congress still can do the right thing by refusing to impose sanctions. That is why it is so important for progressives to mobilize and have Democrats on the record as saying they will not reimpose sanctions waived under the JCPOA if Trump plays politics in refusing to certify."

Mark Pocan (D-WI) is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and he represents a district that has a strong bent. "The world needs fewer nuclear weapons, not more," he told us last might, "which is why the U.S. must do everything it can to uphold this agreement. Nuclear weapons are a threat to global security and peace, raising the possibility that the world could be plunged into a major conflict where millions of people could lose their lives in a matter of minutes. At a time when we’re engaged in a nuclear nonproliferation crisis with North Korea, we can’t afford to have the same situation in Iran."

Remember, the deal has to be recertified by the President-- or in this case, the fake president, every 90 days and if the President doesn’t re-certify, it automatically turns on a 60-day clock where Congress can act to re-impose sanctions lifted under the agreement or do nothing at all-- essentially leaving the plan in place but in limbo. This could allow Iran to violate the deal and blame it on the U.S. for leaving the agreement first and diminishing any chance that North Korea would come to the negotiating table too. Another member of Congress told me, under condition of anonimity, that to his understanding "even if the U.S. decertified and re-imposes sanctions, those are only U.S. sanctions; the UN sanctions and individual countries wouldn’t re-impose, lessening the impact of the US sanctions-- it would also isolate the U.S. in the international community as we're facing an imminent nuclear threat from North Korea... Any signal from the Administration that the U.S. plans to leave or dismantle the JCPOA is dangerous and irresponsible. It would also create two major nonproliferation crises for the U.S."

Last week, Politico mentioned that a "more serious casualty" to Trump axing the Iran deal "could be both more widespread and more distant-- thousands of miles away, on the Korean Peninsula... [I]f the goal is to prevent Pyongyang from developing an accurate nuclear-tipped ICBM, then negotiating with Pyongyang may well be the only way to try to defuse a looming crisis. Even under current conditions, such talks would be fraught, the odds tilted against success. But if the U.S. thrusts aside the nuclear deal with Iran-- and uses contrived evidence to do so-- the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments. This would deal a possibly fatal blow to any chance of a diplomatic effort to, if not halt or reverse, at a minimum slow down North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Indeed, walking away from the Iran deal, or contriving circumstances that force Iran to do so, would not only open up a now dormant nuclear crisis with Tehran, it would also close down perhaps the only option that might prevent a far more dangerous crisis with North Korea."

Kia Hamadanchy, one of the top Democratic candidates for the central Orange County seat currently held by Trump rubber stamp Mimi Walters, is an American with an Iranian heritage. He worked for Sherrod Brown in the Senate and he's a very smart guy so I asked him for his perspective on this. He told me that Señor Trumpanzee "and the rest of his administration continue to try and manufacture reasons to try and kill the JCPOA. Nikki Haley and others in his administration continue to make false claims regarding Iran's compliance with the agreement. It continues to be the case that Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA and that the agreement represents the best course action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. That is not just my opinion as the same has been stated by the Israeli military and intelligence establishment. To fail to re-certify the deal and re-impose sanctions on Iran would be make war more likely not less and those who advocate doing so are the same individuals who led us into war with Iraq. Iran has thus far upheld its end of the bargain and as long as it continues to do so, the United States must do the same. Should Donald Trump unilaterally decide to withdraw from the deal, the United States will find itself alone, isolated, and weakened on the world stage. We would not have the support of European allies in making such a decision and they will not act re-impose sanctions or take punitive actions towards Iran when it would be the United States who was not in accordance with the terms of the deal. Simply put, pulling out of JCPOA would be a complete disaster."

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At 9:33 PM, Blogger Bill Michtom said...

"the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments."

America’s word IS disposable and the U.S. CANNOT be trusted to honor its commitments.
This is nothing new.

At 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct, Bill. And the entire world knows it.

If this pos repudiates it, THAT, above all else, would be impeachable.

Which would only matter if we lived in a constitutional democracy instead of the despotic autocracy of money and hate we actually live in and re-elect every cycle.


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