BY NATHANIEL BATCHELDER
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal damages U.S. relations with Iran’s moderate leadership and empowers Iran’s anti-American extremists who opposed the nuclear deal from the start. It will cost Boeing a $20 billion airliner sale to Iran.
Agreed to and signed by Iran and six nations including the U.S., United Kingdom, Russia, France, China and Germany, the deal demanded Iran cease all activities that could relate to nuclear weapons, and agree to very intrusive regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency which reports to the United Nations and Security Council.
All the signatory nations – and the intelligence services of Israel and the U.S. – maintain that Iran has remained in compliance with terms of the deal. The signing nations say the deal has improved relations with Iran.
In 2013, Iranian voters elected western-educated Hassan Rouhani as president, rejecting the confrontational politics of hawkish cowboy Ahmadinijad. Rouhani’s choice of Javad Zarif, educated in the U.S., to be Foreign Minister, further demonstrated Iran’s desire for improved relations with Europe and the U.S.
Iran has changed over 25 years. More women than men graduate from Iran’s universities today. The majority are young. Seventy percent of Iran’s population is under 30, born after the hostage crisis and weary of historic tensions. They want trade, travel, computers, internet and cessation of tensions with the west.
Iran signed deals with Boeing to buy 80 commercial airliners; with Airbus to buy 100; and with Franco-Italian Turboprop to buy 20. U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal cancels all those deals and other trade with Iran as well. Not good for U.S. farmers and ranchers, since Iran still needs to import beef, wheat and other agricultural commodities.
There are still extremist religious and hawkish political elements in Iran who prefer abandoning the nuclear agreement and returning to confrontation with the U.S. and the world. They said President Rouhani should not have agreed to the nuclear deal. They have been given a boost by U.S. withdrawal.
The appointment of John Bolton as National Security Adviser is alarming to advocates of peace in the Middle East. A regular contributor to Fox News, Mr. Bolton has demanded Trump withdraw from the nuclear deal, and has advocated military action to bring regime change. To an audience in Paris last year, Bolton said, “And that’s why, before 2019, we will celebrate in Tehran.”
With Bolton in the NSA and critic of the Iran nuclear deal Mike Pompeo now Secretary of State, it appears to some that President Trump may be assembling a war cabinet. Military action against Iran would influence the 2020 elections since voters do not typically change presidents in time of war.
– Nathaniel Batchelder is director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or PeaceHouseOK.org