Imminent Decision to Scrap Iran Nuclear Deal Threatens War
This past week saw a flurry of activity surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump's imminent decision on whether to withdraw America from the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal. He has until May 12th to make this historic decision which will likely throw the world into unknown and chaotic territory. Other countries will likely be forced to find their way carefully through the minefield of complicated U.S. sanctions (that had been lifted under the President Obama era deal) that would likely fall back into place with full force.
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The World Waits with Baited Breath for Trump's Decisions
This week the world is waiting and wondering how a number of critical questions will be answered if the American President makes good on his threats to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Will he restart sanctions on any country or company working and trading with Iran? How soon would this take effect?
Will Europe fall into line behind the controversial American leader? What will Iran do in retaliation? Perhaps most importantly, what will happen with the Iranian obligations to permit periodic and transparent nuclear inspections of its nuclear facilities and program?
Two anonymous White House officials have admitted on May 2nd that the president has already determined to withdraw from the deal. The ongoing debate within the administration centers on how he actually will do it. Especially interested are Iran, the so-called victim in this case, and the six word powers that hammered out the accord— Germany, Britain, France, China, Russia, and the U.S.
Iran Has Pledged A Fierce Response to a Negative Decision
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came out swinging Sunday when he gave an interview regarding upcoming actions by President Trump against the 2015 nuclear agreement. The president has already promised that absent the European powers fixing the “flaws” within the nuclear accord with Tehran, he would not extend crucial American sanctions' relief on the Middle Eastern state. President Rouhani responded forcefully with:
“We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord. Orders have been issued to our atomic energy organization… and to the economic sector to confront America's plots against our country. America is making a mistake if it leaves the nuclear accord.”
European Allies Weigh In On Dissolution of Nuclear Accord
As a rule, the great European signatories to the accord Britain, Germany, and France are loyal to the deal. They have offered concessions to America to try to keep President Trump on board. These include talks on Iranian nuclear activities after the accord's expiration in 2025, on the worrisome ballistic missile program, and on the troubled Iranian role in Middle Eastern politics including both Yemen and Syria and the ongoing Iranian supported wars there.
Only in late April, French President Emmanuel Macron pleaded with Trump in his state visit to Washington to not tear up the agreement with Iran. Instead he argued that another round of talks with Iran needed to begin. The Iranians effectively quashed this suggestion of new or re-negotiations with Rouhani's interview Sunday:
“We will not negotiate with anyone about our weapons and defenses, and we will make and store as many weapons, facilities, and missiles as we need. You (the U.S.) should know that you cannot threaten this great nation because our people withstood eight years of… defense (in the war with Iraq)… We want to preserve our peaceful nuclear technology for electricity, medicine, agriculture, and health… and we do not seek to threaten the world or the region.”
In other words, the Iranians are officially done negotiating additional or alternate deals with the West.
French President Macron Warns over Possibility of War with Iran
Not to be outdone by the Iranian president's passionate rhetoric, the French president countered with some of his own flourishing ideas. President Macron went so far in his remarks to the German political magazine Der Spiegel over the weekend to state that the American withdrawal from the 2015 historic accord to restrict the Iranian nuclear program in lieu of sanctions relief could lead to war:
“We would open the Pandora's Box. There could be war. I don't think that Donald Trump wants war.”
Yet other countries like Israel might prefer to see war to a deal they feel is only buying the Iranians more time to expand their ballistic missile programs openly and their nuclear military programs in secret.
Israel Still Opposes Flawed Deal With Iran
Three years after the original treaty was signed with Iran, the Israelis still are vehemently opposed to it. Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a presentation in which he argued that the Iranians lied and were proceeding with the work on their nuclear research and weapons' program.
A senior Israeli intelligence officer told news sources on Sunday that President Trump has not informed Israel as to whether or not he will scrap or seek to change the agreement with Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to virulently oppose the arrangement that he says at best slows Iran's nuclear ambition and capabilities down for a brief several year interim.
Yet the intelligence official opined that President Trump concurred with the Israeli skepticism about the efficacy of the agreement. He added his hopes that there will again be American-led sanctions. Past efforts focused on the oil and banking sectors in Iran.
Trump's Options to Reimpose Iranian Sanctions
In truth the American President possesses two different means of restarting the sanctions on Iran. The May 12th deadline involves an automatic renewal of waivers on the Iranian Central Bank sanctions that dramatically impacted the country's crucial oil exports. Come July 11th, a second sanctions group of waivers will have to be renewed. These concentrate on over 400 different Iranian firms, business sectors, and individuals in the Middle Eastern country.
The U.S. President also has what has been labeled “the nuclear option” by various experts on the issue. He might simply elect to restart all past sanctions against the Islamic Republic at a single time. This would immediately mean that the U.S. itself had violated all terms of the deal that argues for sanctions on Iran staying lifted so long as the Iranian nation keeps its share of the arrangements.
As of now, the International Atomic Energy Agency for the United Nations insists that Iran is keeping their side of the agreement. Even Trump administration newly approved Secretary of State (and recently former CIA director) Mike Pompeo agrees with this assessment.
The third choice at the president's disposal is to only restart those sanctions on the central bank. This would mean that a 180 day clock would begin ticking. In this time frame, all firms and nations purchasing oil from Iran would have to start lowering the quantity of oil they were buying. The ones that fail to comply would suffer Washington-enforced penalties.
North Korea Watching Iran Deal Events Closely
All by itself this is a serious geopolitical bonfire that bears close watching. Making it even more important is the fact that the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is closely watching the proceedings. He is on the verge of a landmark summit with President Trump to discuss denuclearization and an end to the over 70 year long war on the Korean peninsula.
If he interprets an American withdrawal from this past nuclear accord as proof that he can not trust Washington's assurances for his political survival after abandoning his own hard-won nuclear arsenal, then he may logically elect to go back to his former plots to engage in a nuclear standoff or even start a war with his neighbors and the United States to ensure his survival. It reminds you of why you urgently need to acquire gold to safeguard your retirement portfolio. The process has become even easier now thanks to your ability to buy gold in monthly installments.