Shake On It: Can Trump Shake on a Deal with Iran?
By: Nivea A. Ohri
The Iran Nuclear Deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has officially lost all hope of resurrection. The deal required Iran to cut its stockpile of uranium and other chemicals by 98% and to refrain from enriching the acceptable 2% of uranium above a certain threshold. The JCPOA was a solid attempt at preventing Iran from creating nuclear weapons. As part of the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would send inspectors to inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities and ensure that Iran is abiding by the rules and is on the path to denuclearization. In exchange for following the restrictions and limiting enrichment, the United States, European Union, and United Nations Security Council would in turn relieve Iran of economic sanctions. The European Union, the National Security Council, Germany, and the United States had been working on this deal since November 2013, but, upon the election of the Trump administration, the United States refused to sign it.
Many were disappointed with the United States in May 2018 for refusing to sign onto the JCPOA. With heightened nuclear fear in the U.S., many were anxious as to what the future would hold if yet another relatively unstable country, like Iran, developed nuclear weapons. Alongside the breakdown of the deal, strict sanctions were placed against countries that trade with Iran, including the European Union, under UNSCR 1929. The sanctions hurt Iran, as higher costs of goods, scarcity of water, and reduced freedoms, especially for women, led to frustration for many Iranians. Due to the United States’ imposition of sanctions on businesses and countries that sustain economic relations with Iran, the flight of businesses out of Tehran has left Iran’s currency plummeting, as the Iranian Riyal recently hit a record low. In light of Iran’s history and unstable government, revolutionary threats are possible. Insurgency coupled with strengthened weaponry and lesser trust in the Iranian government can be dangerous for global stability and existence. Experts have already predicted that Iran’s weapons could aid Afghanistan and threaten Israel.
As of late, Iran has begun enriching uranium ten times faster than before. Iran’s possession of weapons of mass destruction is of great concern, especially given its ties with countries that are known to host extremists. Even if Trump were to offer Iran another deal, the stakes have risen due to Iran’s development of weapons in the interim. It is critical for the Trump administration to fulfill the previous administration’s commitments in order to maintain stability in Iran and to maintain a semblance of reliability. For example, the United States’ abrupt withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal could cause other countries to be wary of establishing agreements and treaties with the United States. If deals and initiatives are overturned every four years at the wake of new elections, the U.S.’s credibility and reputation may be viewed as questionable. Though newly elected presidents may have opposing ideologies and change policies put in place by previous administrations, some stability and reliable standards are necessary for continued safety and security for all.
In 2015, the UNSCR 2231 took effect and the European Union enacted a Blocking Statute, which voided the sanctions the United States placed on countries trading with Iran because the sanctions hurt the trade, businesses, and economies of our European allies. Though European nations are some of the biggest supporters of the JCPOA, many of them still maintain trade and business with Iran. Trade with oil-rich Iran is in high demand, especially due to its geographical location in the war-stricken region, and thus maintaining relations with Iran is important. Whilst this nuclear deal was not the only deal put on the table, it was an effective option. Compromise is necessary for the safety, security, and sustainability of both the U.S. and Iran.
On November 5, 2018, President Trump imposed new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank, as well as those who conduct business or trade with Tehran. However, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani seems confident that the U.S. is the “loser” and that the U.S. “has already done whatever it can,” insinuating new sanctions will not harm Iran.
For the security of the United States and the international community, there must be a compromise. It is crucial that a new deal be proposed and fast. Oh, and Mr. Trump, can you shake on it this time?