President Trump has cut another cord. Yesterday, the President announced that he would be pulling the US out of the 2015 Iran agreement and begin imposing sanctions on the country. The deal had lifted sanctions in exchange for Iran limiting their nuclear activities, and when many countries signed the deal it felt like a huge step forward. The choice to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been internationally condemned. And now, we’re scrambling. The European Union is trying to take steps to immunize European firms from US sanctions. Boris Johnson is already trying to reassure the people that the UK will not follow the US’s example. There’s a sense of panic, of chasing our tails. And the worst part? His reasons for it didn’t even make sense. It didn’t make any sense at all. He didn’t even try to make it make sense.
Was it a perfect plan? No, but that didn’t mean it was totally impotent. “The president argues that easing these restrictions over time would open the door to Iran’s attaining nuclear weapons capability, rendering the JCPOA ultimately ineffective,” the Washington Post reports. “But supporters of the Iran deal dispute that and say the JCPOA at least buys time, subjecting Iran to strong constraints on its nuclear activities for 10 to 25 years. Without the JCPOA, Iran could hasten its development of nuclear weapons on an even shorter timeline than the one Trump found unsatisfactory…” He also ignored of the fact that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and that it has signaled it will join the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol in 2023.
Mr. President my father took your place in Vietnam and was killed in action. By throwing out the #Irandeal my sons still serving will take your children’s place in the war you’re starting. @JohnKerry knows war, and you don’t. That’s why as a retired Major General I’m with him. https://t.co/5pZuIRiLof
— Major General (ret) Paul Eaton (@PaulDEaton52) May 8, 2018
Instead, he claimed that the deal had led to the US dumping billions in cash at Iran’s door — an assertion backed by neither logic nor facts. “Trump always makes it seem that the United States casually handed Iran billions of dollars in cash,” the Post explains. “But as we’ve reported, this was always Iran’s money. Iran had billions of dollars in assets that were frozen in foreign banks because of international sanctions over its nuclear program.” He referred to Israeli confirmation that Iran was not planning on limiting their nuclear plans, but the documents he was referring to are old news — and covered information from almost 20 years ago.
He made a bad choice for bad reasons — and the consequences of the choice can’t be underestimated. Not only will the sanctions affect Iran directly, they will affect companies all over the world that deal with Iran. The global economic impact could be huge. And, of course, there’s the message that it sends about nuclear weapons themselves. With each day, Trump is showing that he’s willing to make bigger and more dangerous mistakes based off of nothing more than his own prejudices.