So, so many are quick to say President Donald Trump made a horrible error in withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, and some doubts are understandable even as the definitive harrumph is nonsense.
The fact is, Trump kept pushing Iran to exhibit peaceful intent, it did not and we are therefore in a situation where its continuing evil is ever more a real peril even if unseen by those who do not want to see.
Iran has been moving ahead to build nuclear weapons. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrated as much with 100,000 hidden Iranian documents that Israel found. Critics yawn, but some of those showed Iranian determination to roll ahead with its weaponizing ambition, if at a slower pace.
The deal from the start never said hey, stop everything. It just said quit doing as much as you were. It let Iran keep its nuclear infrastructure and keep enriching uranium if not by as much. It said Iran could still shoot off those ballistic missiles, obviously meant to transport nukes someday.
All of these appeasement nods would somehow work out, the Barack Obama team said, because we would build better relations with Iran over time and we’ve got a good inspection regime. According to deal supporters, Iran has majestically lived up to every promise.
False, false and false. Instead of geniality, what we’ve received from Iran is threats to wipe out Israel, the harassment of the U.S. military to the point of taking hostages and a bloody, terroristic presence in the Middle East meant to say Iran would soon be in murderous control. The Iranians have at least a day to prepare for any inspection and inspectors are denied any access at all to particularly suspect military bases that Britain, France and Germany agree should be looked at.
As for compliance with the deal, consider some 32 illicit efforts to get foreign technology that have nuclear weaponry implications, at least as reported by a German intelligence agency.
President Barack Obama said the only alternative to the weak-kneed deal was war, and some Trump critics have said his abandonment of the deal could send Iran scurrying to get its nukes, something that would now take about a year as compared to maybe three months before the deal. The thing is, some of the other six countries involved in this are making billions through trade with Iran, and for that reason and others, want to keep their part of the deal intact.
So does Iran because, instead of taking returned billions and putting them into its economy, it put them into military buildup and support of terrorism. The economy is collapsing, strikes are happening, outright rebellion could be in the offing and the regime could be in peril without that trade. Because of a return of U.S. financial sanctions, none of this will be nearly as profitable on either side as before, however, and Iran may just finally decide that it had better heed some of what Trump wants
Consider that the Obama deal was comparable to President Bill Clinton’s nuke deal with North Korea — all talk, little action — and then consider how Trump’s tough stance is just maybe working with North Korea. Ponder how North Koreans recently released three American prisoners as a prelude to talks while the Iranians released no American prisoners until Obama provided a ransom that he and confused supporters said was not a ransom.
Some good has come out of the Iranian deal, such as Iran sending Russia much of its super-enriched uranium while getting all kinds of natural uranium back, but it was Obama who facilitated the U.S. departure. Contrary to the Constitution which he promised to “preserve, protect and defend,” he did not get a required treaty that the Senate would have to ratify, but a deal Trump could easily break.
But just maybe improve, too.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at [email protected].