Trump Unilaterally Pulled U.S. Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal
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The most critical and impactful news of today is: President Donald Trump announced that U.S. will withdraw from the Obama era nuclear agreement with Iran, calling this Iran Nuclear Deal defective at its core. Despite the advice from European allies, Trump would reimpose economic sanctions on Iran which were waived when the deal was signed in 2015. The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) curbed Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions that had been imposed by the UN, U.S., and EU. As a result of Trump’s announcement of withdrawing U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran is going to prepare restarting uranium enrichment, the key ingredient for making nuclear energy as well as weapons. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, “The U.S has announced that it doesn’t respect its commitments….I have ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to be ready for action if needed, so that if necessary we can resume our enrichment on an industrial level without any limitations.”
Former President Barack Obama, who was responsible for signing the deal on behalf of U.S., along with many other countries (France, Germany, EU, Iran, UK, U.S., China, Russia) in 2015, called Trump’s announcement “misguided“.
Below, is an excerpt from wikipedia on “Criticism of the Iran nuclear deal”, in italics:
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal was the international agreement reached on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna in 2015. The deal, made after several years of negotiation, set in place strict guidelines to regulate and oversee the Iranian nuclear program including the reduction of centrifuges, enriched uranium stockpiles, and an agreement to allow regular inspections of nuclear sites, among other aspects. The deal has attracted enormous criticism by certain political and media elements in the United States and Iran as the deal is viewed as conciliatory in nature by some factions in both countries. For example, President Donald J. Trump called the Iran deal, “the worst deal ever negotiated” and United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell characterized it as “flawed”, while hardliners in Iran have indicated a desire to subvert it. Much of the criticism in the United States has been centered on the issue of appeasement and Iran’s compliance, while in Iran many of the criticisms revolve around the issue of sovereignty and non-nuclear restrictions.
In Iran, debate over the deal has become representative of a number of persisting social, economic, and political conflicts that have played a large role in the rift between moderates, reformists, and conservatives. In the United States, the deal is seen as a symbol in the battle between competing visions on how the United States should carry out its foreign policy in the Middle East.
Key provisions of the JCPOA:
- Reduction of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium by 98%, from 10,000 kilograms to 300 kilograms, to be maintained over fifteen years. Remaining uranium will only be authorized to be enriched to 3.67%, the level adequate enough for use in civilian nuclear power and research. Existing enriched uranium above the 3.67% mark will be sold or diluted. All research and development into enriched uranium is limited for a period of eight years and may only be conducted at the Natanz nuclear facility in Isfahan Province, Iran.
- An exhaustive system of inspections by international observers from the IAEA will be put in place. This system will include a continuous monitoring of all aspects of Iran’s nuclear supply chain such as uranium mills, observation by infrared satellites, fiber optic seals on equipment, sensors, and surveillance cameras. Dedicated IAEA inspectors for Iran, will triple from 50 to 150. IAEA inspectors also have the ability to request physical access to sites if specific concerns of non-compliance arise.
- Iran will cut down on the number of operational centrifuges. Of its 19,000 centrifuges, all but 6,104 will be put in storage with an even smaller amount allowed to enrich uranium for a period of ten years. All of the stored centrifuges must be held at the Natanz site under IAEA supervision.
- Iran is forbidden from constructing additional heavy water sites or accumulating additional heavy water for a period of fifteen years. Iran’s existing Arak heavy water reactor site will be forbidden from producing power above 20 MWth (megawatt thermal) and will undergo a redesign to limit its capability to produce weapons grade plutonium. All heavy water in Iran’s possession that exceeds the limitations of the deal will be placed for sale on the international market.
- Iran will not participate in spent fuel reprocessing in any capacity for a period of fifteen years and all spent fuel in Iran will be shipped out of the country.
- The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant will be forbidden from holding fissile material. Of the 2,700 IR-1 centrifuges currently installed at Fordow, only 1,044 will be allowed to remain. Enriching of uranium at the site will also be heavily restricted.
- A “snapback” mechanism that automatically replaces all international sanctions on Iran if compliance of the agreement is not met.
Many believe that this is by far the most damaging act of President Trump’s administration, losing our allies, losing credibility of U.S., increasing insecurity for U.S., increasing chance of military confrontation with Iran, empowering the hardliners, increasing instability of Middle East, without a plan B for the future.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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