What’s next for Iran deal?

Does President Donald Trump’s decision on Iran deal mean the end of the deal, and what’s next for relations with Iran? Read few comments.

Jamsheed Choksy, Distinguished Professor, Department of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

President Trump has set aside the JCPOA and is reintroducing sanctions on Iran. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani quickly followed Trump’s announcement by declaring: “If we come to conclusion that (the other) 5 countries (of the JCPOA) are committed to their commitments, then we can get peace and tranquility.” But President Trump wants a better deal and American global power will drive the course of action. Iran’s development plans require continued access to foreign technologies and substantial trade increases with the world—and so Iran will have to convince the US to remove the new sanctions. Consequently negotiations will continue in public and private. Trump will keep upping the pressure on Iran, even try to prevent Europe and Asia from buying Iranian oil and gas and from trading with Iran, until some or many of the loopholes in the current deal are fixed either through supplements to the JCPOA or through completely new agreements.

Barbara Slavin, Director of the Future of Iran Initiative, Atlantic Council, Columnist for Al-Monitor.com

Donald Trump has now carried out his campaign promise to withdraw from the landmark Iran nuclear deal. While he has also promised to negotiate a new agreement, he will likely face an empty table.

Despite the earnest and even frantic efforts of US European allies to reach side agreements with the US on Iran’s non-nuclear policies, Trump was not appeased. In his speech, Trump dismissed their efforts and focused on a litany of charges against Tehran. While Trump said the US and its allies “are unified in our understanding of the [Iranian] threat,” there is no unity — or clarity — about what comes next.

As so often since he became president, Trump has shown his capacity to destroy the achievements of his predecessors while putting nothing in their place. It is now up to Europe to try to convince Iran to remain in the agreement despite US sanctions. Russia and China, too, will claim the mantle of international leadership while the US further relinquishes its traditional role. Nothing is about to get easier for the Middle East or the world at large. And in North Korea, Kim Jong-un will take note and demand more benefits up front before he agrees to any concessions.

Fanar Haddad, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

Whatever reservations one might have had about the JCPOA, there is no real justification for the US withdrawal. The IAEA had repeatedly certified Iranian compliance under the terms of the JCPOA but the fact is that, for opponents of the deal, Iranian compliance is not really the issue. Rather, the real threat to the JCPOA is firstly Trump’s visceral opposition to his predecessor and his legacy, and secondly, the hawkish resistance (in the Middle East and D.C.) to any normalization of the Iranian regime or its integration into the global system.

The hope is that the remaining signatories of the JCPOA will try to keep the deal alive without the US though this is extremely difficult given the imposition of secondary US sanctions against trade with Iran. The increasingly hawkish US stance in the Middle East incentivizes equally hawkish positions in Tehran, Tel Aviv and Riyadh. The future does not bode well for the region.

Sean Foley, Associate Professor, Department of History, Middle Tennessee State University

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) marks a key moment for the Middle East that could increase instability in the region but also produce an historic diplomatic breakthrough.

Throughout his address explaining the decision, Trump stressed that the United States should not have entered the JCPOA, and the Iranian government both squandered the country’s wealth and had killed hundreds of Americans over the years. He also warned of the serious danger posed by Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, support of terrorism, threats to Israel, and destabilizing role in regional conflicts. Strikingly, within an hour of Trump’s address, Israeli missiles targeted areas near Damascus suspected of housing Iranians.

At the same time, Trump made clear that he was ready, willing, and able to talk to the Iranian government when its leaders were ready for direct negotiations. To stress the seriousness of his offer, he referenced his Administration’s recent negotiations with North Korea, another historic U.S. adversary, and made a surprise announcement: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was traveling to Pyongyang for meetings and to lay the groundwork for an historic summit between Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un.

The next step is up to Iran’s leaders, whose country is mired in a serious socio-economic crisis that a deal with Washington could help reverse. Are they willing to bet that the man known for Trump: The Art of the Deal is the President who will end nearly forty years of conflict between Washington and Tehran?

James Goode, Professor of History, Grand Valley State University

This is a sad day for the United States and the world. This administration needs an international target, and, it appears, that target will be Iran rather than North Korea. I am reminded of the build-up to the war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2002. At that time President Bush had a group of advisers, who pushed incessantly for military action against Baghdad. Eventually, they got their wish. Now we have a similar group, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has called for the use of force against Tehran and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also a Hawk on Iran. They are being bolstered by the government of Israel (as in 2002) and wealthy American supporters of Donald Trump, who have Tel Aviv’s interests at heart. It does not require much imagination to forecast what may lie ahead.

Propaganda against the JCPOA and Iran has been building ominously over the past months here—even my small-town newspaper has lately taken to publishing Iran-bashing cartoons. Unfortunately, most Americans know very little about Iran or Iranians. They are broadly susceptible to Iranophobia, even though this action by President Trump works against the long-term interests of the United States. Ideologues have concluded that abandoning the nuclear arrangement with Iran will make the United States safer. They will be proven wrong, but at what cost.

Ahron BregmanDepartment of War Studies, King’s College London

​Well, Trump pulled out of the deal. And one of the implications of that is that there are less restrictions on Iran. The Israelis bombed their forces in Syria the other day and now, less restricted, Iran might look for an opportunity to execute her revenge on the Israelis. It is a dangerous moment!​




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