The Dismantling of the Iran Deal: Why It’s Important

A little over a week ago, President Trump announced that the United States would no longer be a part of the Iran Deal, effectively ending one of President Obama’s landmark foreign policy agreements. While this may not seem like major news, Trump’s decision has created shock waves throughout the Middle East and Europe.

What is the Iran Deal?

The Iran Deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was a deal signed in 2015 by the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia) plus Iran, Germany, and the European Union.

Signing the deal was five years in the making and involved two years of negotiations with then Secretary of State John Kerry. In exchange for putting strict limitations on its nuclear program, these countries lifted billions of dollars of economic sanctions against Iran. In short, the deal put a 10-year restriction on Iran’s nuclear production with international inspectors periodically inspecting their remaining factories. Iran was limited to a commercial-only nuclear program, for peaceful purposes only.

Trump has decided to not only pull out of the deal but has also announced that he intends to impose new economic sanctions on Iran.

Image source: Chris Barbalis, Unsplash

So, what does this decision mean?

1. The decision to leave is seen as Trump’s effort to undo Obama’s legacy.

There is general and widespread agreement that Iran has followed the terms imposed by the deal, but Trump has been a fierce and outspoken critic. Not only was it one of his campaign promises to pull out of the deal, but it’s also seen as a deliberate effort to derail his predecessor’s legacy.

2. Israel and Saudi Arabia are happy the U.S. is no longer a part of the deal.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly claimed that the Iran Deal was too lenient in the first place and have suggested that Iran has not held up its end of the deal. The Trump administration appears to want to strengthen ties with these two Middle Eastern countries. Kushner has worked to strengthen economic ties with Saudi Arabia. Similarly, the U.S. Embassy in Israel officially moved to Jerusalem a few days ago, which is also seen as a momentous and highly controversial foreign policy decision.

3. The U.S. is in direct violation of an agreement with the U.N. Security Council…

Countries like China and Russia are expected to denounce Trump’s decision to violate the U.N. accord. Because the U.N. passed a resolution endorsing the deal in 2015, the United States’ decision to leave directly violates this agreement.

4. ...and other European leaders aren’t happy about it.

The E.U. and leaders of the other European countries will remain in the Iran Deal and are not happy with Trump’s decision to leave. This could be yet another strain on Trump’s relationship with his European counterparts. They may issue an order allowing European businesses to ignore American sanctions, which would be the “diplomatic equivalent of a slap in the face” to the Trump administration.

5. There has been increased violence in the region since, and according to some experts, Trump’s decision could lead to war.

Fifty-eight Palestinian protesters have already been killed in Israel this week due to the embassy’s move. In addition, both Israel’s and Iran’s intervention in the Syrian conflict could worsen.

The Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran Deal has deep ramifications for the political climate in the Middle East and imposes an increasingly bigger strain on our relationship with our European allies.

Sources:

  1. The Washington Post 
  2. The New York Times 
  3. NBC News