Trump and the Iranian nuclear deal
The US President, Donald Trump, has been rattling his sabre at a quite alarming rate over the last few weeks regarding both Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. No one becomes the President of the United States without the support of at least a portion of the imperialist ruling elite but again, he is making his backers jittery with tactics straight from the gung-ho comic books that play such a mis-educational role in the ‘land of the free.’
Having verbally attacked time and again the agreement that the US, UN and the EU has with Iran (this is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, which was signed in July 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN security council — China, France, Russia, US and UK — as well as Germany), Trump has taken the first steps to renegotiate it or end it.
It is an agreement that approved the gradual lifting of UN economic sanctions in return for a freeze on Iran’s advanced uranium enrichment programme. It was not particularly to the liking of imperialism but it was the best that they could get at that time (or now) from Iran. All observers recognise that the Iranian side have complied fully with this agreement since it was signed.
When the deal was signed, the US Congress imposed another duty on their President, namely, that every 90 days the president would certify to them that Iran was abiding by the terms of the agreement and, if not, Congress would look at renegotiating or ending the US commitment to the deal.
Having twice since his inauguration certified that Iran is continuing to comply fully with the deal, President Donald Trump announced on Friday 13 October, in a move that has been widely expected since July, that he intends no longer to certify Iran’s compliance. This puts the issue straight into Congress hands. Or as Abigail Tracy writing in Vanity Fair on 24 October puts it; “Donald Trump’s declaration earlier this month that he intends to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord—the ‘worst deal ever,’ as he loves to say—unless lawmakers on Capitol Hill made it broader and tougher, was the equivalent of pulling the pin out of the grenade and handing it to Congress.” The legislation that the Senate eventually come up with will have to have 60 votes and then also satisfy the Trump administration, which wants lawmakers to strengthen restrictions on the Iranian government. If Congress fails to deliver, Trump will have then to decide whether or not to unravel his predecessor’s foreign policy achievement or himself back down.
The move that the President has made seems to be more about domestic policy, aimed at cowing his critics within Congress where it is widely acknowledged that the deal with Iran is still important, and probably cannot be improved on in the interests of US imperialism at the moment, even among those who opposed the deal at the time it was made. However, given the vitriol that the US media have poured on Iran and continue to pour, it will be difficult for any senator to be seen to side with Iran by suggesting little or no change to this deal and that could lead to a very dangerous situation.
On the international stage the Friday 13 declaration does a number of things: the other signatories to the deal must decide whether or not they will continue to honour the deal without the US if it walks away from it. At the time of writing, it certainly seems that the UN and EU players want it to continue – with leaders of the UK, France and Germany issuing a joint statement declaring that they were still committed to the deal and that they were “concerned by the possible implications” of Mr Trump’s speech. Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel in the statement declared the Iran deal to be “the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy” and urged President Trump, his administration and the US Congress to think carefully before taking any steps that might undermine it. Of course, should the US actually walk away then Israel is talking up a possible war and a first, possibly nuclear, strike on Iran (as a defensive measure of course!). The European imperialists would find it difficult to take what would seem to the US to be a pro Iran stance in the heady atmosphere that would exist even prior to such an event.
Of course, President Trump has no option but to concede that Iran has met the terms of the deal, which have been policed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and watched over by a plethora of imperialist spies. However, both Britain and America have now complained that Iran has breached the ‘spirit’ of the deal by continuing to test ballistic missiles which ‘may’ be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. However, the deal only “calls on” Iran to stop doing these tests, rather than banning them and, moreover, Iran has pointed out that the missiles are, in any case, intended to carry only conventional warheads and so are not covered by the agreement.
The flimsiness of the Trump case as regards Iran’s ‘behaviour’ has led him to bring into the argument that other international bogeyman, North Korea! On 13 October when Trump signalled new sanctions against Iran, he also voiced his suspicions that it was colluding with North Korea!
Resorting to the use of ‘collusion with the DPRK’ as a scare tactic against Iran in this case may be a bit of an own goal outside of America and Britain as not everyone regards them as the pariah state of monsters that our imperialist media depict them as. It is this same DPRK that the US and its puppets are trying to bully into submission and to ‘open up’ their country to the tender mercies of imperialism. But, if the DPRK really is the evil regime that we are told it is by the bourgeois press, then surely, the lesson it is being given at the moment is that signing an agreement with the US is a mistake because, even if you comply with it fully, the US will demand more and more and impose sanctions on you regardless of how much you may honour any agreement with them. The DPRK, of course, are not monsters or stupid and learned that lesson a long time ago. There is currently a comparison between some aspects of the US and DPRK foreign policy doing the rounds on facebook which seems to have started in Ireland. We are not sure of the numbers as regards weapons, but it is useful and quite correct to point out that the DPRK has never attacked another country and has no military bases outside of its own borders.
US imperialism, regardless of who is the President, as well as the lesser imperialists of Britain Europe and Japan, are the real rogues and terrorists who stalk the world in their quest for maximum profits and total domination; and the game of ‘chicken’ going on between the current US president and Congress does not alter that fact. For us, our duty is clear: imperialism must be destroyed so that mankind and the rest of this planet may live.