The United States’ decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal threatens another war in the Middle East, likelier to be bloodier than the ones already ravaging the region.
President Donald Trump delivered on his election promise of making America pull out of the Iran nuclear deal which was signed in 2015. Under the agreement, negotiated by the United States, three European Union powers, Russia, and China, Iran was banned from pursuing a nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions being lifted against the Islamic nation. It was widely believed to have been a successful piece of international diplomacy at the time, but Trump repeatedly referred to the deal as being the “worst ever” during his election rallies, pointing out that it made no mention of the Iranian ballistic program or the overall influence Iran exerted in the Middle East.
But major nuclear proliferation experts around the world, as well as many of America’s own top military generals and European governments, have unilaterally supported the Iran deal, arguing that it is the best way to keep Iran from pursuing nuclear enrichment. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has constantly maintained that Iran is sticking to the terms of the agreement and is not cheating, a fact independently verified by the U.S. military as well. Despite all this, Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal would send wrong signals to rest of the world, and especially to North Korea, who could now be expected not to trust the United States when it comes to signing a nuclear deal. As pointed out several times by journalists and foreign policy experts, now that the United States has broken down an agreement which it signed only three years ago, why would anyone trust them to respect another agreement?
Moreover, Trump’s decision seems to have angered European officials, with Europe set to lose out billions of dollars’ worth of trade deals if the Iran sanctions are reimposed. France has come down heavily on the decision, with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire saying that Europe cannot afford to follow the whims of the United States when it comes to protecting its economic and diplomatic interests, according to BBC.
“Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their trousers? Or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?”
It is a sentiment echoed by Germany and Britain, with UK PM Theresa May calling Trump to maintain that it would respect the treaty. European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was not a decision that could be taken solely by the U.S.
“This deal is not a bilateral treaty. It’s a UN Security Council Resolution and it belongs to the entire world,” she said.
But the most stinging result of America’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal could be the birth of a new war in the Middle East. Iran, which would be under no restrictions to not follow a nuclear program, has vowed to scale up its preparations of uranium enrichment if the deal collapses. This could in turn lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia also planning a nuclear program unless Iran is kept under check. The hints of a new war were already laid by Israel this past week, after it made the biggest coordinated attack on Syria since the 1973 Mideast war. In retaliation to the attacks on Iran’s military systems in Syria, prominent Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami threatened attack on two of Israel’s most important cities if the Jewish nation continued on its “foolish” ways.
“The holy system of the Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has already said that Israel won’t exist in 25 years if it continues to destabilize the region. Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu is known to be a huge critic of Iran and supports Donald Trump in pulling out of the Iran deal.
All this leads one to believe that unless China, Russia, and European powers intervene and find a way for the economic sanctions not to be reimposed, consequently also preventing Iran from upping its nuclear ambitions, a massive threat of another Middle East war could well be on the horizon. And if that happens, it could be potentially destabilizing for the entire world.