BIPP: Trump administration wants makeover for Iran Deal

Zach Krivine, Contributing Writer

President Donald Trump is a self-proclaimed deal-maker. On the campaign trail, he constantly touted his ability to negotiate better deals with world leaders than his predecessor, whether that be the renegotiation of NAFTA or to negotiate with health insurers to compete with each over those state lines. Among the deals that Trump expressed frustration for, the most frustration was with the Iran Nuclear Deal, agreed to in the summer of 2015, which he has repeatedly labeled as one of the “worst trade deals ever.”

After much anticipation, Trump announced on Oct. 13 that the Iran Nuclear Deal was no longer in the interests of the United States. In doing so, the President has given Congress six months to decide on one of two things. First, they can decide what elements of the deal should be eliminated and renegotiated with Iran and the five other nations involved in the accord (France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany). Should Congress and these nations fail to renegotiate, Donald Trump promised on Oct. 13 that he would pull out of the deal, thereby reimposing sanctions on Iran.

At the very heart of the plan was a 10-year monitoring period, whereby international observers could enter Iran and confirm that the Iranian regime was keeping up with its side of the bargain, namely not enriching uranium to the point of building a bomb. Trump’s administration is of the belief that Iran is, generally speaking, in compliance with the accord, but that they believe Iran has been guilty of three smaller violations. These include the volume of heavy water being used (critical in nuclear production), intimidating nuclear inspectors and concerns regarding nuclear centrifuges. Furthermore, Trump’s team believes Iran is still threatening U.S. interests on the world stage. Iran and the U.S. are on opposite sides of conflicts across the region, and with Trump’s recent overture to Saudi Arabia, his administration has made clear that it regards Iran as a foe.

The next events to watch will be the reactions of our allies and of Iran itself. Leaders from all five of the nations that signed the Iran Deal are known to be against any American efforts to abandon it, yet some have indicated that they are willing to respect American demands for stronger terms. France President Emmanuel Macron has said that while he is strongly against scrapping the deal, he would be willing to work with the Trump Administration to try to limit Iran’s further development of its ballistic missile program.

Iran is a complex and powerful actor in the region. Its relations with the United States have been full of tension, but the two nations are doubtlessly inextricably linked. Maybe the outcome of renewed negotiations is a stronger tilt towards U.S. interests and more a complete system of inspection, but the moment must be seized by the Trump Administration.

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