The end of an error. President Donald Trump’s announcement at the White House on Tuesday that the United States is leaving the Iran deal marks the end of what his predecessor, Barack Obama, considered his main foreign policy legacy.
According to the New York Times, the U.S. will reinstate sanctions against Iran that were waived as part of the deal, which was negotiated under former President Barack Obama’s administration and signed in 2015. A source told the NYT the Trump administration will also place additional economic penalties on Tehran.
The president has railed against the Iran deal frequently. He has called it the “worst deal ever” and vowed during the 2016 campaign to either withdraw the U.S. from the agreement or renegotiate it. A second source told the NYT negotiations over the nuclear deal crumbled after President Trump insisted Iran face sharp limits on its nuclear fuel production after 2030. The current accord lifts those limits.
President Trump stated – “This was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
President Trump will amass credit from his base for keeping his promises in withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran deal, however, in truth, the Iran deal was undone by its own terms. The deal did not stop Iran from enriching uranium, nor did it stop Iran from eventually building a nuclear weapon. Neither did it stop Iran’s continued global aggression. In fact, the Iran deal was not truly a deal at all.
According to Breitbart –
“It was never signed by any of the parties (the U.S., Iran, France, the UK, Germany, China, and Russia). It was unclear about crucial subjects like ballistic missiles because the “deal” was described differently by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and by the UN Security Council Resolutions that were meant to implement it. And, crucially, it was never sent to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
Obama’s disregard for the Treaty Clause of the U.S. Constitution was of a piece with his general disregard for the constitutional constraints on the power of the federal government and the presidency. His refusal to submit the agreement to Senate scrutiny, and his party’s abuse of the filibuster to prevent even a weak Senate vote, deepened the damage that Obamacare — his other struggling “legacy,” in domestic policy — did to American civic culture.”
What President Trump actually did for America was put an end to Obama’s legacy of appeasement. No more red lines, no more talking. America talks and America backs up what she says with actions.
Barack Obama came to power convinced that America was at best a negative force in world affairs with this idea that we must lead from behind. At worst, Obama believed America was the cause of the world’s problems, believing we could only be a force for good if we “renounced its traditional allies, abandoned its principles of freedom, and gave up its national interests in favor of rising regional powers elsewhere.”
“In his first year in office, Obama backed away from agreements that his predecessor had made to provide missile defense in Europe. He also reached out to the Muslim world, beginning with obsequious speeches in Cairo and in Ankara, and deep genuflection to the Saudi king. When the Green Revolution took to the streets of Iran, Obama allowed the regime to consolidate power. He criticized Israel openly while cozying up to the Cuban dictatorship
Then here comes President Donald Trump with his “America First” policies and has reversed most of that. He withdrew America from the Paris Climate Accords exposing it for the fraud and the drain on American resources that it was. Later this week, he will move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
President Trump states – “The United States no longer issues empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.
Thus ended Obama’s experiment with appeasement and autocracy.
Meanwhile, Obama is furious at seeing his legacy crumble to dust, calling President Trump’s actions “misguided.” In a long statement, the former president explained that “today’s announcement is so misguided.”
1. First, the JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government. After years of building an international coalition that could impose crippling sanctions on Iran, we reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran. It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
2. Second, the JCPOA has worked in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. For decades, Iran had steadily advanced its nuclear program, approaching the point where they could rapidly produce enough fissile material to build a bomb. The JCPOA put a lid on that breakout capacity. Since the JCPOA was implemented, Iran has destroyed the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons-grade plutonium; removed two-thirds of its centrifuges (over 13,000) and placed them under international monitoring; and eliminated 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium – the raw materials necessary for a bomb. So by any measure, the JCPOA has imposed strict limitations on Iran’s nuclear program and achieved real results.
3. Third, the JCPOA does not rely on trust – it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran’s nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away.
4. Fourth, Iran is complying with the JCPOA. That was not simply the view of my Administration. The United States intelligence community has continued to find that Iran is meeting its responsibilities under the deal, and has reported as much to Congress. So have our closest allies, and the international agency responsible for verifying Iranian compliance – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
5. Fifth, the JCPOA does not expire. The prohibition on Iran ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is permanent. Some of the most important and intrusive inspections codified by the JCPOA are permanent. Even as some of the provisions in the JCPOA do become less strict with time, this won’t happen until ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years into the deal, so there is little reason to put those restrictions at risk today.
6. Finally, the JCPOA was never intended to solve all of our problems with Iran. We were clear-eyed that Iran engages in destabilizing behavior – including support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel and its neighbors. But that’s precisely why it was so important that we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Every aspect of Iranian behavior that is troubling is far more dangerous if their nuclear program is unconstrained. Our ability to confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior – and to sustain a unity of purpose with our allies – is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it.