"Iran has repeatedly insisted that it does not seek nuclear arms, but says it will not give up the ability to enrich uranium for energy and research reactors.
Instead of withdrawing outright, Trump will ask Congress to amend a law that gives lawmakers some oversight over the deal.
The Trump administration will ask Congress to add new conditions for U.S. cooperation that would address Iranian ballistic missile development as well as alleged support for terrorist or extremist groups in Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters during a briefing ahead of the president’s address. The administration also wants to address “sunset clauses” in the deal that allow Iran to resume certain nuclear activities beginning eight years after the deal went into effect in 2015.
Tillerson called that a “countdown clock to when Iran can have a nuclear program again.”
These new “trigger points” would draw lines for Iran that are separate from the deal itself, Tillerson said.
If the amendment is approved by Congress and Iran fails to meet the new requirements, the U.S. could impose new sanctions that would effectively break the deal." washpost
Iran is in compliance with JCPOA. The IAEA has repeatedly said so. Tillerson says so. Mattis says so. Nevertheless, DJT stated today that Iran is not in compliance with the "spirit" of the deal.
What is evidently meant by the "spirit" of the deal is Iranian willingness to obey the United States.
Among the striking things in this speech was DJT's stated intention to pressure IC analysts to accept his view of Iranian actions.
I will post this now and watch the fur fly before posting further on the subject to sum up my own views and argument in the matter of Iran. pl
Donald Trump likes to play with fire and does not realize he is sitting on a barrel of nitroglycerine. If it goes up, the collateral damage can be considerable. The other partners to that Iran deal do not want to mess with it and that is one problem. I am sure there are those in Iran who would love to develop nuclear weapons and Trump may just embolden them.
Then there is the problem with North Korea. If this deal is sabotaged, why would they trust any deal with the US? Or anyone else for that matter?
No more of that pussy “leading from behind”.
Re Lars: That’s surely the rub. What is the point of negotiating a deal with the US if it doesn’t last beyond one president?
Ehud Barak, for one, and perhaps surprisingly to some, has spoken out strongly in opposition to what Trump is doing:
WASHINGTON — Ehud Barak, the former Israeli leader known for his hawkish views on Iran, said it would be a “mistake” for President Trump to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, both because it would play to Iran’s advantage and because it would scuttle any hope of a negotiation with North Korea.
Mr. Barak, a decorated soldier who was prime minister and defense minister, is the latest and most prominent Israeli to urge Mr. Trump not to disavow the deal — a step the president is expected to take when he announces his broader strategy for dealing with Iran later this week.
“Even if America decides to pull out of it,” Mr. Barak said in an interview on Tuesday, “no one will join — not the Chinese, not the Russians, not even the Europeans. It will serve the Iranians.”
I thought the leading republicans, along with dems were opposed to messing around with the JCPOA, but Ryan just came out strongly in support of Trump’s most recent monkey business.
PM May of the UK also advised against this deviation. Who is going to trust the Americans after going through years of work to reach this agreement ?
An interesting read… http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1204247/implement-the-jcpoa/
I occasionally listen to the related podcast.
One point made is that the US can’t limit proliferation by force. If US backs out of Iran deal, NK will understand that US does not negotiate in good faith. Gadaffi gave up weapons program and look what it got him.
Russia and China’s hoarding of gold is and has been an anticipatory event like this. And the Israelis. My god, for all the credit they give themselves and get from others, they are terribly short-sighted.
The “new trigger points” Trump wants to introduce are unilateral changes to the JCPOA. He says: “Accept my unilateral changes or I will sanction you.” If he does he is openly breaching the agreement. No other country will follow him in that. Iran will simply buy and sell outside of the U.S. realm.
Trump has some (spurious) aims. He speaks loudly and carries a twig. He has no strategy to achieve his aims.
Like the Syrian missile attack which struck a near-empty airfield which the Russians had been pre-warned about, this is posturing.
Surrounded by clouds of hell-fire rhetoric, it is gesture politics, doing the minimum necessary to keep the Israel/Saudi lobbies happy. The Syrians continue to advance on many fronts, the Europeans and the rest of the world will continue to trade with Iran (as will Boeing and American oil companies by backdoor means), while the Israeli and Saudi lobbies and those American citizens dim enough to believe their propaganda will think how great it is to have a president who at last stands up to the Iranian terrorists.
Trump is following in the footsteps of Obama. Publically paying homage to and signalling submission to Israel and Saudi Arabia, privately ensuring that America continues to follow at least a semblance of an independent foreign policy.
Not as bad as it could have been.
Trump is looking less like a prize bull and more like a mad cow . . . at least to me.
Since when did Trump ever care about “the spirit of” a deal when he was doing all his real estate development hustling?
Insisting on “the spirit of” the deal is simply creating a false condition designed to be not-definable and not-meetable so as to fabricate an excuse to back out of the agreement for any reason or no reason at all.
This could be EUrope’s big chance to come face to face with itself in terms of whether EUrope wants to be a Free and Equal independent region or not. China and Russia will be watching Europe’s reaction to this decertification very closely.
Hopefully the cooler heads in Iran can keep the hard line motormouths shutted up till this process of dividing the pro-deal countries from the anti-deal countries plays out to the very end.
The game plan seems to be to pour sand into the gears of the JCPOA until the agreement “breaks”, thus precipitating a crisis that can be used as a casus belli against Iran. The usual suspects in Washington probably think they can get both a freeze on Iranian weapon programs and a favorable reshuffling of the geopolitical landscape after they regime change Iran. Unfortunately, Trump is proving very pliable in this regard.
As others have noted, going down this road really will destroy any chance the US has of negotiating with North Korea. Kim’s paranoia seems to be based around a belief that no agreement with the US is worth the paper it is written on and abrogating a signed treaty with Iran will only feed that impression.
Eager to read your take on this, Col. Lang.
Other than non-proliferation, I can’t see what US national interest is served by ratcheting up tensions with Iran.
Gorbachev calls for USA/Russia summit.
My plea to the presidents of Russia and U.S.
By Mikhail Gorbachev
EU will have to comply with US, there is no way for them to shield themselves and their Iranian trade from US sanctions.
It will further diminish them, but they brought this all unto themselves; propping themselves to be more than they actually were (and are).
EU will fold, they have no cards.
Lars and DJK — I believe you have identified the major problem of a Trump Presidency to the national interest of the United States and to the safety of its citizens and residents: NO ONE can trust in the precedents of any previous administrations. All past negotiations and precedents are up for grabs — by the p___y grabber. He has no sense of the importance of the continuity of integrity.
Dangerous times for all of us when we cannot rely on the President to appreciate this amazing gift of past governance he has been given.
In 2008, before elections, Dennis Ross & Michelle Fluornoy (who was on tap to be HRC’s SecDef) wrote a white paper laying out just such a scenario — US would offer Iran a deal it could not accept; when Iran inevitably refused, US would say, See, they won’t cooperate. Old & tired game from “the smartest people in the room.”
You are right on EU, but it is too late to make any effect on Iran’ foreign policy. The issue with Iran never was or is about her Nuclear program, it always was, is and will be about Iran’ foreign policy, which Iranians showed, and will insist they are not willing to negotiate their foreign policy or they will ever accept a forign involvement in their affairs.
This is just a really good example of US foreign policy being “non-agreement capable”. It bolsters Russian positioning just by having been uttered.
If the deal gets into congress, it is likely that it will go nowhere or else revert to sanctions. In the case of sanctions, let me apprise all of you that Iran, due to these same long-lasting sanctions, already has myriad workarounds. Within the oilfield service sector, Iran has been actively growing her own industry with the participation of some EU countries in technology transfer. Since China is the primary source for pipe in the world, they are not at all concerned with steel pipe. With China having copied much of American oilfield equipment quite decently, Iran has that sourced as well.
Everyone has seen their drone program, and it is booming. I have friends in Dubai and India that bought some small commercial drones and are tickled with them. Their military is expanding capabilities quarterly – hard to argue that sanctions are hurting them overmuch in that arena.
From my POV, there is zero benefit for the EU to go along with this, as exemplified by their statement regarding Trumps.
It is obvious that while sanctions may hurt Iran to some degree, they have been hammered with them for so long that the workarounds are in place. In my business, we would love to see sanctions gone where we could get into their market.
Overall, if India and Pakistan have nukes, then there isn’t any big rationale for excluding Iran from the club. India and Pakistan have long been antagonistic, yet nobody has ‘pulled the pin’. Israel may not like it, but they don’t have the clout to take on Iran, excluding nukes, anyway.
My feeling is that the imposition of sanctions and abrogation of the JCPOA will hurt the USA in the foreign policy arena and in business much more than it will hurt Iran. It will hurt the EU more, and push them to looking eastward more. Iran has already adapted quite well to sanctions – they are effectively just a pain in their ass, little more.
Pouring sand in the gears is just not going to work. Iran IS NOT Iraq, nor is it Syria or Grenada…
EU has over a million square miles. EU has over 300 million people. EU could be food-sovereign and food-self-sufficient and food-autarchic if the EUropeans wanted to be. EU has the economy and thing-making capacity to withdraw from NATO and create its own NEATO and its own defense industry for its own separate defense if the EUropeans want to do that.
They have a whole deck full of solid gold cards. No one can force them to take a dive. The only dive they would take is the dive they want take. This is what China and Russia will be watching very carefully for . . . to see how EUrope reveals what it is by choosing what it wants.
I am more worried about the precedent on the belief that no agreement with the US is worth the paper it is written on by China and Russia and the acceleration of re-alignment of the BRICs and other developing world.
IMO, EU don’t have much choice to be independent of US on Iran issue. Preventing EU’ luxury goods export to US doesn’t hurt US average income consumers, but stopping China’ consumer goods to US hurts US economy immediately and will be felt by every level of consumerism in US, that IMO gives less leverage to US over China than does that of EU.
You may well be correct regarding the current dilemma, but imho at some point in time the powers that be in the EU will recognize the disconnect between their interests and the interests of the US.
For the present, do you think the US is willing to sanction the entire EU for whatever trade it may continue with Iran in the event the JCPOA is jettisoned?
I find it informative that those warriors raring to go, and given permission to slip the leash, are to be found in the Treasury Department.
i think and as i have spoken to people about it realize im one of the only ones, but what i see unfolding is a joint isreali/usa war on Hezbollah, its the only part of the iranian/iraq/syria/lebanon, alliance that they could theoretically attack full force while preventing it from escalating out of control(im not saying it would not, but it is within the realm of possibility)
Absolutely correct. The EU has a great hand to play. The question is, do they have the balls to call the US bluff?
Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!
If that were the case, Trump wouldn’t have punted to Congress.
War is the Great Teacher.
US does not need to sanction EU, EU will comply. The true interests of EU, and US, are determined by the electorate.
They are not structured politically like US so your observations do not carry the same import as applied to US. I think they will dive right after US.
Babak Makkinejad –
Apparently the EU thinks differently from you. So far anyway.
yes, agree, that is why HezB has all those rockets ready to fire on Israel – in self defense
And remember that America’s main booster in Europe no longer has a position at its high table in Brussels. Europe is now Merkel and Macron, May and Britain are personna non grata.
Sixty years ago General De Gaulle specifically vetoed Britain’s entry into Europe because he saw it as America’s poodle. De Gaulle’s non-aligned foreign policy could be resurfacing.
Australia may be facing a dilemma here. We don’t want sanctions, we want to sell wheat, lots and lots, to Iran. While sanctions applied every sale had to be ticked off by DFAT. Sometimes banking sanctions were avoided by selling to a third party in exchange for gold. Competition between Australia, Canada, Russia, the EU and US for the Iran wheat market is intense. Nor can Australia hope to return refugees to a country to which we apply sanctions.
Rupert Murdoch’s (London) “Times” has an article (behind a paywall) which sounds the battle cry.
“Iran attacks 9,000 email accounts in parliament
Iran carried out a “brute force” cyberattack on parliament that hit dozens of MPs this summer, according to a secret intelligence assessment.
Some 9,000 email accounts, including those belonging to Theresa May and other cabinet ministers, were subjected to a sustained attack on June 23. Ninety accounts were compromised.
Russia was initially blamed but investigators have traced the attack to the Tehran regime, The Times can reveal. It is believed to be Iran’s first significant act of cyberwarfare on Britain and underlines its emergence as one of the world’s biggest cyberpowers.
The timing of the revelation is awkward for Mrs May as she seeks to persuade President Trump not to abandon the nuclear deal.”
But then Murdoch is fanatically pro-Brexit.
(I love the reckless cynicism with which the dead-on-its-feet “Russia hacked us” meme is miraculously re-cycled into a brand new “Iran hacked us” one. Waste not, want not.
Consoling to see someone rationally discuss matters. At least after watching the “US Make-America-Great-Again trump card” on the WaPo video.
The most interesting part is the IAEA’s “third party” information. Triggers reminiscences.
This doc on the US economic sanctions against Iran is interesting too:
Maybe the US should follow up on leaving UNESCO, by pulling out of the deal and then enforcing a Security Council agreement of a joint US/Israel + new coalition of the willing war on Lebanon? The creation of a security zone up to the Litany river? Leontes?
How do you sell Boeing planes using ” backdoor ” ?
Iran will cancel the Boeing contact – 100 planes -.
How will react boeing workers ?
Yes but EU electorate is shifting quickly to a more ” sovereign ” view.See last election in Spain, France, Germany.
Next stop, Italian elections, big surprise to come.
Anti-EU trend is also Anti-US as EU is seen as an US poodle.
See the overall approval of sanctions against Russia ie.
july 2017 :
” Eighty three percent of Germans says the US plan to impose new anti-Russia sanctions is a mistake, a poll conducted by the Forsa for the Spiegel newspaper said on Saturday.”
Kim’s paranoia ? Omg !
Never heard of this infamous 2002 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review ?
” Most importantly, Kim Jong Un, himself, has also appealed to this logic. Kim stated that “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military options.” Those military options have included the explicit statement in the 2002 U.S. nuclear posture review that North Korea is a country that the U.S. should be prepared to drop a nuclear bomb on. The existential nuclear threat has continued uninterrupted in the form of U.S.-South Korean military exercises on the North Korean border that include stealth bombers simulating nuclear bombing attacks on North Korea.”
Mike, first this:
Concerning the US conservative think thanks faction in the end, my mind marched in a somewhat complementary parallel direction.
Besides, the “bizarre and erratic president” (Stephen Walt) may well have solid support on the issue in the US , but I fear/(hope?) Europe isn’t the best place to expect its respective subsidiarities to collectively bent their knee in awe of the emperor of the world.
I was vaguely thinking along somewhat parallel lines to the US conservative think thanks in the end. I sure hope that the EU’s legal experts are busy with a risk assessment plan concerning potential thumbscrews as far as the recent hype of US desire for ever new sanctions are concerned, leave alone seizing assets and freezing accounts. Coercion by extra-terrestrial or secondary means?
“US does not need to sanction EU, EU will comply. The true interests of EU, and US, are determined by the electorate.”
That is you personal opinion – which is BTW not supported by the reality on the ground. No serious politician supports the US position.
A large part of Rouhani’s campaign was based on the benefits of the JCPOA. Essentially, the USG under Trump’s leadership is acting in bad faith. While the government of Iran may elect to adhere to the agreement, notwithstanding Trump’s folly, however, my sense is that the Iranian people are moving towards support for a credible nuclear deterrent. IMO this is new and will have serious consequences for all, including the clerical establishment itself.
I do not anticipate any changes against US; may be against Trump but not against US leadership.
Consider: without US, EU is a nothing militarily. Furthermore, EU does not have a sovereign currency and cannot insulate its monetary and economic activities from USD.
Furthermore, since the end of the Cold War, US and EU have walked in lockstep in a number of foreign policy items: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Libya… to name a few.
The major disagreement was over Iraq War of 2003 when EU fractured – some went with US and some did not. EU leaders then proceeded, not to further separate themselves from US but, ins instead, to get closer to US. The results were the 10-year economic war against Iran, the destruction of Libya, the Syrian War, and the Ukraine Disintegration.
Thy will follow US against Iran if US Congress abrogates JCPOA, in my opinion.
I think its fair to say that Kim is both paranoid and his paranoia is proven accurate on a regular basis wrt the US. As Croesus points out above, there is a powerful faction in Washington that is very single-minded about what they want for various uncooperative states.
At some point it becomes a matter of Spirit and Will. If the EUropeans have the Spirit and Will to Be Independent, they will force the issue through the political structures they have.
And if not, then not.
Reality on the ground in EU is that they despise Islam, Iran, and indeed all forms of religion. The other reality is that they want to keep the Russ out. And lastly, they fancy themselves as Champions of Human Rights, Democracy, and Custodians of the Cult of Shoah. They will folow US. The only people who think otherwise are feeble minded Iranians.
NK will understand that US does not negotiate in good faith
everybody in the world especially NK has already experienced the ART of dealing with US.
I’ve been taking the position that Trump is punting it to congress *precisely* so he can look tough without actually doing anything. I will bet anyone a beer that congress doesn’t actually scuttle the JCPOA. Then Trump gets to call congress a bunch of puppies that are soft on terrorism.
This is another example of how taking actions absent strategy creates uncertainty that undermines the US national interest. Tactics absent strategy are self defeating. Is the Iranian regime a foe of the US? Most certainly. But is it anywhere close to being a near pear competitor / threat deserving all of the attention given it? No. The JCPOA, like anything negotiated between a group of parties, has flaws / weaknesses throughout. But to jettison what the nation has committed to for the sake of ego, undermining the work of a past president whom you detest (Obama – because Trump was the butt of many Obama rhetorical flourishes), and for selling more unreal to your political base is not only shameful, but dangerous. Give Iran the rope to hang itself, and treat it as the third rate nation that it is (not its people – the regime) and stop blowing up the threat (NK is more of a threat than Iran). The only ones that benefit from uncertainty in our system is our enemies. The post-Cold War world without clear headed leadership is heading for trouble, and giving space for others that either pursue a regional sphere of influence approach (Russia) or global influence approach (China) increased space to act, and to win. Trump’s approach may not see war in the next 3 years, but he is creating a set of realities and positions that future presidents will be hard pressed to reshape into something that at once benefits America and helps restructure a system that puts stability first.
You stole all my thunder.
I would add potential ray of hope:
Whoever filled Trump’s teleprompter that day may have committed a terrible strategic blunder. Having a clown on one’s side can do a lot of damage. The mere implication Trump is in cahoots with Russia has allowed Russophobia to spread like wild fire. It will now be significantly more difficult for the MSM to avoid re-examinating their deeply instilled AIPAC/Likud assumptions about Iran.
I can’t see any possibility that the Israelis would want the USA to join it in a war against Hezbollah.
A joint attack on Iran, sure, because for all their chest beating the Israelis know that they don’t have the power-projection capabilities to take on such a large and distant opponent.
And, furthermore, they know that everyone knows they don’t have that capability, so there is no shame whatsoever in urging the USA to do that dirty work for them.
But Hezbollah? They are just over the border. The Israeli self-image won’t allow them to admit that they can’t take out a next-door-neighbour, and do so without breaking a sweat.
And, furthermore, much of their utility to the USA is their claim to be able to deal with any problem in their neighbourhood, deputy-sheriff-style: just give us the tools and we’ll do the job.
So it would be a huge blow to their image both domestically and in the corridors of power in Washington if they needed US boots on the ground in order to defeat a bunch o’ tag-tags who are hiding out in – of all places! – a chaotic, shambolic mess of a place that is Lebanon.
The Israeli’s are planning to go to war on Hezbollah, no doubt about it, but they’ll insist on going it alone.
And they’ll get their arses handed to them on a plate because, let’s face it, the IDF is just a bunch of thugs with guns.
Lots and lots of guns, for sure, but a bunch of thugs is still just a bunch of thugs.
Babak: “Consider: without US, EU is a nothing militarily.”
I’m genuinely curious: if you pack up the US military and ship it home then who, exactly, does this militarily-ineffectual EU have to fear?
Certainly not Russia, since the combined military spending of Western Europe would still exceed that of Russia by a considerable margin.
Who else would pose a credible military threat to that go-it-alone EU alliance other than, of course, the USA itself?
A post-Brexit Britain? Norway? Who?
EU, together with US, has attacked Yuhoslavia, Iraq, and Libya. EU trained the Maidan agitators and helped overthrew another sovereign government in Ukraine, all the while politically supporting anti-government forces in Syria. EU waged a ten year long economic war against Iran. EU would not have dared doing all of this without the protection afforded to them by US.
Babak–What do you think the US has learned over the last 16 years?
In the runup to the 2016 elections, several posters on this forum claimed they were voting for Trump to prevent WWIII. Given what has transpired in SYria, North Korea, and Iran, I’m wondering if any have buyer’s remorse. Tyler,or others, care to weigh it?
Should have said:
“War could be the Great Teacher.”
As for question, “Nothing”.
Seizing assets and freezing accounts or Double Irish?
Precedent? US has always been known for changing its mind. Why do you think CERN and ITER were build in Europe.
Unfortunately, imperial powers they don’t learn, hubris will not allow a super power (You read an imperial power) to look back and learn from history. Imperial powers, gradually and eventually will be teached the lesson, when is too late. This is not unique to US.
Babak, thank you for your accurate recitation of EU military adventurism, but I will point out that it is nonetheless a non sequitur.
Sure, the EU has enthusiastically joined the US in destabilizing (and even outright destroying) counties in the European “near abroad”. That is just the sort of thing that sycophants would do.
Still, they are essentially doing it because their masters in Washington wanted them to do it. Again, a feature – not a bug – of sycophancy.
But if the US military were to pack up and go home then that could only happen as a result of a catastrophic schism between the USA and western Europe, and so from that point on the EU’s enthusiasm for destabilizing countries in their neighbourhood would vanish.
They certainly would seek to curry favour with Russia and/or those countries within the Russian sphere of influence, if only as a counter to a now-antagonistic USA.
Simply put: if the EU ever grew a pair and showed the US military the door then their interest in destabilizing the countries near them would….. vanish. Poof! Gone.
At which point my question would still be this: who would that militarily-ineffective “EU armed forces” fear, apart from a resentful Washington?
To reply that the EU would be unable to throw their weight around is not to answer that question, which is and always has been to ask who they would *fear*, not who could they *threaten*.
I’m not so sure. SWIFT is based in Europe (Belgium to be precise) and the Iranian banks have been reconnected to SWIFT as part of the JCPOA. Provided the Iranian transactions are not in USD, there is little the United States can do. Maybe the Europeans will decide to conduct all their business in Euros, then there will be even less the United States can do financially.
Thank you for your comments.
You might know the Europeans better that I; I can only go by impressions, surmises, and insights gained through reading and at times listening to snatches of conversations.
I would characterize them as very enthusiastic sycophants who actually do believe in the goals of US policy if not its methods.
Your reference to “spheres of influence” is very important in my mind. The recognition of two spheres of influence; a Russian one and an Iranian one will go along way to ensure peace in Europe and in the Near East.
But I do not believe that the Western Fortress is willing to admit the utility of such true and tested artifices of state craft.
The Europeans kicked Iran out of SWIFT during the last economic war, regardless of the currency. Indians did the same thing when they joined the economic war against Iran when they stopped using the Asian Clearing Union for oil payment.
There is not reason to think that such things are not going to be done again.
Given what Clinton wanted and what Clinton promised to do, it will take more than what you have listed to give me any voter’s remorse. Trump’s handling of North Korea and especially Iran up to now give me severe buyer’s bitterness. But he has done just what he promised to do for Syria. The COLA ( Coalition Of Lawful Authority) is on track to defeat the GAJ ( the Global Axis of Jihad) and drive all its forces out of Syria or out of existence. This is a GOOD thing and gives me voter’s satisfaction on this particular score.
Of course he has functioned as a Trojan Horse full of deregulationary arsonists and vandals and looters and privatisers of the traditional Republican Upper Class on the domestic front. But I knew he would be that and I decided this was just the nasty side effects I would to endure to begin curing this country of its otherwise-terminal case of Necrotising Clintonitis.
Who wrote Trump’s de-certification speech? Apparently Nikki Haley, by way of John Bolton, by way of Sheldon Adelson: