According to The New York Times, Trump’s decision to withdraw is rooted in an unfound claim that the deal hasn’t reduced nuclear proliferation by Iran, but has made things worse. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” he said. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Fortunately, Barack Obama has issued a lengthy statement criticizing this reasoning and its resulting decision, bringing some much needed fact-based intellect into the discussion.
Obama begins by explaining that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) put in place during his administration has been working wonders for the region, and thereby, the decrease of nuclear proliferation through diplomacy, in general. “That is why today’s announcement is so misguided,” he wrote. “The JCPOA is working—that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense.”
According to BuzzFeed journalist Borzou Daragahi, President Rouhani states Iran will continue the nuclear deal as usual, if all other members of the JCPOA agreement can guarantee Iran’s interests of safety. If not, Iran will will restart uranium enrichment at industrial scale to defend itself. Unfortunately, this is how rapidly things can fall apart, once diplomacy falls by the wayside, and aggression takes its place.
Obama, of course, is baffled by Trump’s decision. “Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated,” he wrote. Obama understands that policies change from administration to the next. “But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”
Unfortunately, today’s developments ring alarm bells for anyone who has lived under the Bush administration, with clear echoes to the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003—which unquestionably reduced this country’s credibility in terms of military intervention and reasonable diplomatic strategy.
Obama makes sure to express that the deal reached during his administration wasn’t just a victory for the Democratic Party, or a globally unpopular move. “We reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran,” he wrote. “It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security council Resolution.”
As of today, all of this effort is at risk of being wiped away—with the worst consequences including mushroom clouds. “Since the JCPOA was implemented, Iran has destroyed the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons-grade plutonium; removed two-thirds of its centrifuges (over 13,000) and placed them under international monitoring; and eliminated 97 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium—the raw materials necessary for a bomb,” wrote Obama.
As for Donald Trump’s childish claims that the Iran deal “didn’t bring peace,” Obama is well aware that a diplomatic agreement doesn’t suddenly generate a My Little Pony reality where violence ceases to exist and the sewers smell like roses—but it can, and has proven to, reduce the risk of war.
“Finally, the JCPOA was never intended to solve all of our problems with Iran,” he wrote. “Our ability to confront Iran’s destabilizing behavior—and to sustain a unity of purpose with our allies—is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it.”