The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more infamously known as the Iran nuclear agreement, squandered leverage to curb the Tehran mullahs’ imperial terror and territorial ambitions for quick-and easy sanctions-relief revenue windfalls.
Much to the chagrin of European economic benefactors, President Trump is wisely pulling the U.S. out of that diplomatic disaster.
Whereas the previous administration’s bungled agreement was promoted to reduce Mideast tensions, the results have proven an opposite effect. While offering no link whatsoever to Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region or their support for terrorist groups, freed-up cash is financing a mullah quest to extend an extremist Shiite crescent from the Persian Gulf to Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
JCPOA economic relief is also subsidizing Tehran’s nuclear weaponization advancements.
The pact was desperately cobbled together with very deep and enduring flaws which enable Iran to achieve nuclear threat status even more rapidly than before it was enacted.
Among these: it enables the regime to continue to conduct research on advanced uranium centrifuges that will minimize weaponized breakout time; it recklessly authorizes self-inspection of existing nuclear military sites that conceal illegal activities; it allows expanded testing of ballistic missiles that will extend warhead kill zones; and perhaps worst of all, it incorporates short sunset periods which terminate sanction restrictions altogether.
Meanwhile, Iran has reportedly amassed a large stock of low-enriched uranium and has produced nuclear fuel enriched to 20 percent purity. While that is several steps away from producing weapons-grade uranium enriched to 90 percent purity, U.S. officials said in 2015 that they were just two or three months from amassing enough fuel for a bomb.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded in 2015 that Tehran – despite denials – had continued nuclear weapons development activities until at least 2009. Ten days prior to Trump’s decision to end U.S. participation in JCPOA, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on Israeli television revealing that Tehran lied about its nuclear weapons program before signing Obama’s 2015 pact. He referred specifically to an underground uranium enrichment facility called "Project Amad" as "a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons."
The original Security Council Resolution sanctions which brought Tehran dictators to the negotiating table had made it clear that bad behavior had real consequences. At their peak, Iran’s oil exports dropped by half from 2011 to 2013.
The U.S. has now taken a step toward renewing that pain by levying new penalties on a financial network which cut Iran off from the global economy. Referring to what he termed will be “the strongest sanctions in history," Mike Pompeo recently said that Iran will have to choose, "Either fight to keep its economy off life support at home, or keep squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It will not have the resources to do both."
The goal is to choke off dollars used to fund regional proxies . . . including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen and Assad forces in Syria. The mere threat of these renewed sanctions has already contributed to a currency crisis. Calamitous devaluations of Iran’s rial have provoked escalating mass internal anti-regime protest demonstrations.
Longtime American Mideast allies with good reason to be jittery about Tehran’s imperial ambitions strongly support Trump’s hard line approach. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman views ending the nuclear deal as a vital element of curbing Iran’s rising role in Syria, Yemen and other trouble spots.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and U.S. Treasury Department have jointly imposed sanctions on several Iranian companies, individuals and officials who have been operating an illegal U.A.E. currency exchange network.
On the other hand, European Union leaders whose countries enjoy economic trade benefits with Iran have strong incentives to stay with JCPOA. Led by Germany, worries about Iran going nuclear are of secondary concern in comparison to commercial interests…Tehran’s primary targets are Israel, the Gulf Arabs and America.
Foreign nations and business entities that continue to deal with Iran may soon have strong reasons to reconsider those benefits. Speaking in a May 13 interview with CNN’s "State of the Union," White House National Security Advisor John Bolton warned, "Countries that continue to deal with Iran could face U.S. sanctions." He added, "I think the Europeans will see that it’s in their best interests to come along with us."
Picking America over Iran should be an easy choice. EU countries traded about $425 billion in goods last year, compared with $720 billion with U.S.-European multinationals including Total and Siemens.
It’s time to realize that the Obama administration’s misbegotten attempt to stabilize the Mideast through soft policies towards tyrants win neither respect nor progress.
Or as Franklin Roosevelt once put it in a fireside chat, "No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it."
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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