President Trump is expected to decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran this coming 15th October.
The JCPOA was signed by five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Germany with Iran almost exactly 2 years ago. The treaty was aimed at lifting crippling sanctions towards Iran in exchange for a drastic reduction in Iran’s nuclear expansion & capability.
Prior to the treaty leading up to 2003 Iran was heavily engaged in producing fissionable material that could have been used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. At the height of their activities they had close to an estimated excess of 20,000 centrifuges in operation however this was drastically reduced to a set number of 5,060 of the older variation centrifuges, which would be used for peaceful uranium enrichment for energy purposes only; another strict condition of the treaty was that Iran give open access to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who would monitor all nuclear activities in the country.
To date the IAEA inspectors have been very satisfied with Iran’s commitment to staying within the framework as set out in the treaty; however, despite Iran’s commitment to the deal the foremost security member the USA has repeatedly maintained that the conditions in the treaty are skewed and not in the best interest of the Americans or their allies.
To coincide with the JCPOA treaty in 2015 US Congress passed a new act which requires that the sitting administration review and certify the deal with Iran every 3 months, this in order to continually gauge whether the deal is in the best interests of the USA. The next review date is set for the 15th October and has come into sharp focus due to recent remarks from president Trump recently alluding to a possible cancellation or amendment of the deal with Iran.
President Trump, from the start a staunch critic of Obama’s soft-handed approach to dealing with Iran has called the deal ‘’the worst deal ever’’ and has outright threatened to end the deal.
Iran, in response to the rhetoric, has in various media briefings already stated their belief that they expect the USA to renege on the deal. Among various retaliatory measures they have even gone as far as to talk of military action; however, whether this is direct to the USA or rather aimed at its enemies in the region remains to be seen.
In light of the current heightened tensions simmering between North Korea and the USA the possible cancellation of the deal with Iran may have disastrous consequences with regards to any possible negations with North Korea as the USA would have lost all credibility on the world stage.
The other members of the JCPOA have in the meantime moved to assure Iran as far as possible that an amendment of the deal may be in Iran’s best interests and that the other member countries may still uphold the treaty, whether this will go towards easing Iran’s response remains to be seen.