Obama’s Last-Minute Push to Save the Iran Nuclear Deal
By Nicholas Elden
The Iran nuclear deal could be under threat by President-elect Donald Trump. As stated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the July 2015 deal boils down to a nine-page document delegating Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and places nuclear-related economic sanctions along with an arms embargo with the UN for five years upon the country. Mr. Trump promised on his campaign trail that he would “tear up” the agreement and frequently described it as the worst deal ever. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded that if Mr. Trump were to tear up the deal, then “we will set fire to it.”
Diplomatic efforts with Iran in the past have long been entirely impossible, but President Barack Obama’s efforts to secure a platform of discussion with Iran have been groundbreaking. Iran has long complained of non-nuclear sanctions, but regardless of the American election, one country cannot overturn the deal and the sanctions. According to The New York Times, 76 national security experts however still urge Mr. Trump to not only accept the nuclear agreement but to use it as a way to ease tensions with Iran on other longstanding problems.
The Obama administration is currently implementing new measures in its final months to strengthen the nuclear agreement with Iran. The effort to bolster the agreement is not aimed at battling with Mr. Trump, but rather to make the agreement more difficult to undo. Mr. Trump has talked at times of raising the sanctions on Iran, but there is skepticism towards this. As argued in The Washington Post, further punishment and isolation of Iran will result in the nation creating a nuclear arsenal without any sort of repercussion.
In the grand scheme of things, Iran is anxiously waiting for the United States to pack up and leave the Middle East. While that seems unreasonable, Thomas Erdbrink of the New York Times noted that Mr. Trump has demonstrated an isolationist streak in questioning the value of NATO and the nuclear umbrella over South Korea and Japan. If this method of diplomacy is effective, Iran will respond in agreement. Iran has already cut deals with European businesses and received tens of billions of dollars in frozen funds and if further sanctions were placed by the United States, the rest of the world is doubtful to follow suit.
President Obama has made major headway in strengthening diplomatic ties with Iran and even if Mr. Trump were to overturn the nuclear agreement, the deal would not collapse. The deal has issues and a reevaluation of its rulings would be good for the global community. The United Nations even recently noted that Iran has made small but significant nuclear deal violations. The Associated Press noted that Iran had exceeded the heavy water allotment and while this may not seem major, it sets a precedent that Iran should not be able to continue upon.