The Next Step on Iran:  Will Trump Pull out of JCPOA?

Giovanni-Boccaccio by Decameron

On January 13, President Trump has to act on the nuclear deal with Iran:  he can waive the sanctions for 90 days; he can repeat his action of October 13, 2017 and refuse to certify that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA—aka the P5+1 agreement); he can pull the United States out of the agreement.   Intelligence analysts at a high level have said that the recent protests in Iran haven’t determined the President’s thinking about what he will do.  Trump has made no secret of his opinion about the agreement—he hates it. He’s called it the worst deal ever negotiated, but can he afford to pull the US out of it? Abrogating the Iran nuclear agreement at this moment would not increase the chances of pursuing a non-military solution to the North Korean nuclear threat, and his most qualified advisers appear to lean in that direction.  And regardless of what Trump decides on Iran, the other P5+1 signatories– Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany—will stick to JCPOA.  The European countries long ago exempted themselves from secondary sanctions, and Russia and China won’t be affected by Trump’s sanctions except to become even closer partners in what they perceive as an alliance against “hegemonism.”

The now-waning Iran protests have put the “amen chorus” of Iran-bashers into full swing.  Trump’s sometimes phone pal John Bolton screams about regime change “now”.  The neo-conservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) crows that the theocratic state is crackng up in Iran because some protesters chanted “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to Rouhani”.  (FDD houses some of the same players who told us that the Iraqi people would greet the invading American army with “flowers and sweets” and that the Shi’ia would be America’s salvation in Iraq.) 

It’s much more complicated as readers and commenters here know, and too soon to say whether a “Persian Spring” triggered by internal factors or outside “color revolution” will come to pass.  For some of the most insightful and informative comments on the situation, I highly recommend SST’s own January 2nd Open Thread on Iran.

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16 Responses to The Next Step on Iran:  Will Trump Pull out of JCPOA?

  1. eakens says:

    Two recent UNSC and a general assembly should be a good indication of who will Be the one isolated if the usg pulls out.

  2. b says:

    Tillerson is negotiating with Congress to take the every-3-month certification issue out of the law. Trump would thereby not have to certify and would no longer bothered with the Iran issue. Out of sight out of mind. Problem solved.
    The bits thereof are in this AP piece:
    AP Interview: Tillerson eyes fix to keep US in Iran deal
    One option lawmakers are discussing with the White House is removing the requirement that Trump certify Iranian compliance. Another possibility is changing the law so certification occurs far less often, officials said.

  3. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    At this particular point in time (Sat morning 6 Jan): 1) “Savvy” Trump has an Artful work-around for the ‘as is’ terrible Iran Deal .. is waiting, a timing matter, 2) Trump hasn’t put together his ‘Iran Art of The Deal, 3) Trump tripped..the Bolton/neocon pack are barking revolution will decide for him..tell the UN/NATO to go packing.

  4. Kooshy says:

    IMO, a period of isolationism is good for US, to make America grate again. Along the line of Patrick Armstrong’ suggestions, I think US leaving/sharing world affairs with other powers, as well as staying away from shoving and pushing her own presumed exceptionalism, can bring back her lost respect. This country has a lot of potential, but unfortunately her interests have been high jacked for short benefit of few against her own. I wish some real patriot would run on a slogan “ let’s take America back again” to make America great again.

  5. Emad says:

    Trump can “refuse to certify that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”
    Trump refused to certify that “suspension of sanctions against Iran” under JCPOA is “vital to U.S. national security interests” as mandated by Corker-Cardin.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, he is certainly succeeding in making America grate, and grate and grate.
    It seems to me he has tried to deliver on the desires of those who elected him, in full or in part.

  7. Croesus says:

    The U.S. Wanted to Discuss Iran. Russia Brought Up Black Lives Matter.
    “UNITED NATIONS — Efforts by the Trump administration to marshal a muscular international response to Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protesters appeared to backfire on Friday, as members of the United Nations Security Council instead used a special session called by the United States to lecture the American ambassador on the proper purpose of the body and to reaffirm support for the Iran nuclear agreement. . . .”
    The French delegate warned against “instrumentalizing” the protest’
    The Iranian ambassador listed US protests “from the violent demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 to the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.”
    “The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, was more blunt. He asked rhetorically why the Security Council had not taken up the issue of Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo., which were at times also met with a violent police response.”
    The Bolivian ambassador said, ““It needs to be crystal clear to the international community that the situation in Iran does not belong on the agenda of the Security Council.”
    The consensus was that the JCPOA and protests were separate issues.
    Haley’s hectoring was not hailed.

  8. different clue says:

    ( reply to comment 5 )
    While I think some restorative Isolationism, or at least some Selective Seclusionism would be good for a while; I feel that using the restorative rest thereby gained only to make another try at Grateness would be just more “less of the same”.
    I would like to see a whole new approach. I would like to see America lay down the burden of Exceptionalism and cultivate a new sense of ordinary okayness. I am an American Okayness Ordinaryan. Lets make America an okay place for the Americans to live in. American Okayness Ordinaryism.
    No more Shining City Upon A Hill. Lets have a Pleasant Town By The Side Of The River.

  9. turcopolier says:

    You are so sadly tormented by Canadian domination by the US. As Porfirio Diaz said, Pobre Mexico, tan lejos de Dios, y tan cerca a los Estados Unidos.” Put yourself out of your misery and try to move to the US. pl

  10. rjj says:

    @ 10 already in progress. Pay attention. What could be more unexceptional than Nikki Haley?

  11. kooshy says:

    Colonel I agree, politically, Canada is so eventless boring, that all my friends in BC ever talk about is US politics.

  12. turcopolier says:

    You are pathologically in the grip of US Derangement Syndrome and should seek help. pl

  13. JohnB says:

    I do concur making “America Great” again is “American Exceptionalism” by another name.
    However, the US can be a great role model for the rest of the world by spending it’s dollars on it’s infrastructure and own citizens rather than policing the world.
    A more humble America!

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think that is a respectable and enviable thing; that a country is so well-run that politics becomes quite boring. Billions would wish to live in such a place.

  15. different clue says:

    (reply to comment 14)
    I used to watch CBC News before my cable disservice company took it away from me. I found it fascinating, partly for the “Canadian view” of things we also thought about; but even more for the discussion of totally different Canada-specific things I would have never thought to look at.
    For example, when Michel Bouchard and Jean Charest were conflicting over “whither Quebec”, CBC described when Michel Bouchard referred to Jean Charest as “John” Charest, and why it was intended as such a political cultural insult. That’s not something the US news ever felt a need to explain or even mention.

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