London, 16 Mar – Donald Trump made clear that he is focused on the threat posed by Iran, in his comments following the sacking of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Trump said: “When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was terrible, he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something. He felt a little differently.”
This is especially telling when you consider that the deadline for fixing the flaws to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is now less than two months away, on May 12.
Trump vowed in January that he would withdraw the US from the deal unless those flaws were fixed. He wanted the deal to be stricter on Iran’s nuclear programme and also address non-nuclear issues, like Iran’s ballistic missiles, support for terrorism, and regional aggression.
After all, Iran is already causing violence and destruction on a massive scale, from involving itself in the Syrian Civil War to support terrorist cells like Hezbollah and Hamas, to violently suppressing the protests of its people.
This is made worse by the fact that Iran now controls four capitals in the Middle East – Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sana’a – and is well on its way to creating a Shiite Crescent across the Middle East.
How would the US withdrawal combat Iran?
Well, if the US withdraws from the deal then it will effectively end any trade deals between Iran and US companies or companies that also want access to the American financial sector, be it customers or banking.
This will cut off revenue for the Iran and its security forces, as most of the companies seeking international trade are front companies for Iran. This would seriously undercut the Iran’s ability to fund terrorist groups or build weapons of mass destruction.
It might also encourage other countries, namely the UK, France, and Germany, to pull out of the deal as well. It could also cause countries that weren’t party to the deal to increase their sanctions on Iran.
Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, wrote on The Sydney Morning Herald: “It is in Australia’s core national interests to review our stance to ensure we are constructive and proactive in tackling the extremely serious Iranian problem.”
Considering that the nuclear deal has failed in its objectives to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, and has rather allowed Iran to continue with other malign activities too, this would be the best scenario.