London, 16 Sep – Supporters of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have consistently claimed that it is a good and well-negotiated deal. They said that it is essential for world peace and security and that is why most of the world supports it. They dismissed claims from critics of the deal that it would not stop Iran.
Even when the nuclear talks were taking place, President Obama really had to sell it. Not just to the public, but to Congress too. He maintained that there was no other way to limit Iran’s nuclear plans.
However, more than two years after the nuclear deal was signed, it appears that many supporters are coming to realise that the agreement is not as perfect as was once thought.
Policy experts will meet next month to discuss the way forward with the nuclear deal and its weaknesses and loopholes at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution.
One of the biggest concerns at the minute is that the Islamic Republic will be free, i.e. without contractual limitations, to build up its nuclear capabilities as soon as the main nuclear restrictions of the deal expire. In particular, Iran would be able to increase its enrichment capacity and it would need a very short time to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
This was one of the main concerns that Israel brought up when it spoke of its opposition to the nuclear deal that was led by Obama. It highlighted that when Iran’s limitations expire regarding its stock of low-enriched uranium and when it no longer is restricted on the number of centrifuge cascades it can operate, in around 2025 to 2030, Iran will be in a position to carry out an enormous, industrial-size nuclear program.
To these criticisms, and to those from other critics, President Obama sent accusations of warmongering. The Obama administration systematically dismissed criticisms.
However, now officials from this former administration are starting to realise that the deal is not so great after all.
Looking back over the past 24 months since the deal was signed, Iran is still carrying out ballistic missile tests. And it is denying inspectors access to military sites – a loophole that Iran is trying to exploit due to the ambiguity of terms.
President Trump said even before taking office that he is not a fan of the nuclear deal. He declared during the election campaign that he would scrap it if he made it to office. He hasn’t, yet, but he has taken steps to change foreign policy towards the Islamic Republic.
It is possible that Trump’s administration will decertify Iran’s compliance with the deal next month. This will then allow the administration to negotiate further restrictions that address the shortcomings of the deal as it stands.
Some worry, however, that the agreement would unravel as a result of this move and Congress would have sixty days to decide on whether to reimpose sanctions that were lifted when the deal came into effect.
Whatever the next move by the Trump administration is, it is clear that the whole international community needs to come together and call Iran out for its belligerence. But most importantly, hold it responsible.