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DONALD TRUMP’S cheerleaders and assorted wishful thinkers suggest that the US president’s intemperate decision to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement will usher in speedy negotiation of another better deal.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by the five permanent members of the UN security council, plus Germany and Iran, in 2015 took hard negotiations over a substantial timescale to secure agreement.
It provides for gradual removal of damaging economic sanctions against Tehran in return for Iran’s uranium enrichment programme being wound down.
Iran undertook never to “seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons,” which Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared to be un-Islamic.
Trump made political capital during his election campaign, portraying the deal championed by his predecessor Barack Obama as a one-sided sellout that benefited only Iran.
His decision to pull out and restore harsh sanctions was music to the ears of Tel Aviv, which continues to needle Tehran by launching missile attacks against Iranian military personnel in Syria, seeking a response to justify massive US-Israel bombing raids on Iran.
It is no secret that Israel and the US, supported by Arab allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have regime change in Tehran as their goal.
Success for this dangerous plan would be disastrous for the peoples of the region and would be harmful for economies in Europe and across the globe.
Both Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have based their campaigns on Iranian leadership “lies,” but the IAEA global nuclear watchdog insists that Tehran has abided by all the commitments it signed up to.
What bedevils the situation is the US and Israeli leaders’ own untrustworthiness.
Netanyahu’s commitment to the truth has only ever been partial, having pledged to voters in Israel’s general election that an independent Palestinian state would never be permitted on his watch, only to return shamelessly, once re-elected, to the politically expedient but largely meaningless “two-state solution” mantra.
More serious is the damage done to Washington’s global image by Trump, as the rest of the world understands now that the US, during his presidency, will walk away willy-nilly from international agreements rather than raise perceived problems and be ready to discuss them.
Worse still, the US president indicates that he will move beyond JCPOA abandonment to twist the arms of US allies up their backs so they abide by this unilateral lawless act.
Responses from all other UN security council members, plus Germany and the European Union, have ranged from regret to anger, but they insist that, as far as they are concerned, the JCPOA is still in force.
But it will only remain effective to the extent that European powers Germany, France and Britain join Russia and China to tell Trump that not only do they reject his unjustifiable action but will work determinedly against it.
That means refusing to abide by the Trump administration’s extension of its anti-Tehran sanctions to envelop transnational corporations exercising their legal right to trade with and invest in Iran.
Airbus and Siemens have both signalled their intention to abide by Trump’s diktat by ending links with Iran, while British banks have hesitated even to engage so far for fear of antagonising the US.
Germany, France, Britain and the EU as a whole don’t have the luxury of a fence-sitting option.
They either collude with Trump’s bid to impose a unipolar world directed by Washington, deciding which states can trade freely and which are sanctioned into starvation and surrender, or they engage in united serious resistance.
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