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Fecteau: Deal or No Deal - Iran-Trump Edition

Thursday, April 20, 2017

 

President Donald Trump ordered his administration to evaluate the Iran nuclear deal which lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. The United States still views Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, which raises a number of obvious concerns. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump flirted with scrapping the deal but hopefully will change his position after this review of the deal.

American sanctions on Iran have some pertinent recent history. Before President Barack Obama assumed office, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ruled that Iran was violating international law. The United States and the global community eventually penalized Iran through harsh sanctions. Once President Barack Obama assumed office, he signed additional sanctions into law through executive order, and persuaded the international community to sanction Iran once again as well. Iran began to feel the pinch with severe economic contractions and inflation.

While the rest of the international community had little issue negotiating with Iran, the unique, contentious history between Iran and the United States made it a particularly touchy subject. The Obama administration resorted to secret negotiations in the country of Oman with Iranian officials to hammer out an agreement. Eventually, the Obama administration approached the worldwide community with an agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). With the success of the deal, Americans and the international community nullified and lifted a significant amount of the sanctions. The dialogue seems to have indeed paved the way for a peaceful agreement.

This deal is far from perfect. Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, but not to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran will receive billions in critically needed trade revenue – some speculate this could be used to finance terrorism.

However, with all its flaws, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has proven that it is a worthwhile endeavor. The IAEA and even the Trump administration agree that Iran is abiding by the terms of the JCOPA. This would likely not have occurred without the far more stringent sanctions placed on Iran through President Obama’s executive actions. Mr. Trump should recognize this fact.

While the success of sanctions is debatable, the unfortunate fact is that there were few alternatives; if Israel actually targeted Iranian atomic facilities as it threatened in the past, there was a significant chance that the United States would have been pulled back into another war in the Greater Middle East. The Iran nuclear deal worked thus far, and while the Trump administration has every right to review the deal, it is better than nothing, which is the dismay alternative in its stead. 

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau

 

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