From left, the European Union high representative, Federica Mogherini; the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif; head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, the Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; the British foreign secretary Philip Hammond; and the US secretary of state John Kerry pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna after striking a landmark nuclear deal. Joe Klamar / Pool Photo via AP
One of the most disgusting and craven foreign policy acts accomplished by any United States president and fully abetted by the Congress was agreeing to the Iran Nuclear Deal. In return for sanctions relief, pallets of cash, a prohibition on the ability of Western leaders to criticize the deal, an obligation on the part of the US to defend Iran’s infrastructure, a toothless inspection regime, and amnesty for vicious thugs like Qasem Soleimani, we got an agreement. (Check out the RedState archives on the Iran Nuclear Deal from 2015 as the provisions of the treaty were revealed.)
When President Trump withdrew from the agreement in May 2018, the Euros pulled on the kneepads and did what was necessary to keep the deal alive because there is no greater congregating of cowardly, self-hating, and self-destructive poltroons anywhere in the world and appeasing terrorists is what they do.
Now Iran has used the excuse of the disarticulation of Soleimani last Thursday to announce that it was staying in the nuclear agreement but just wasn’t going to be bound by any limits on its behavior.
Iran said Sunday it would no longer abide by any of the limits of its unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, abandoning the accord’s key provisions that block Tehran from having enough material to build an atomic weapon.
Iran insisted in a state television broadcast it remained open to negotiations with European partners, who so far have been unable to offer Tehran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite U.S. sanctions. It also didn’t back off of earlier promises that it wouldn’t seek a nuclear weapon.
Iran’s state TV cited a statement by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration saying the country will not observe limitations on its enrichment, the amount of stockpiled enriched uranium as well as research and development in its nuclear activities.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has in a statement announced its fifth and final step in reducing Iran’s commitments under the JCPOA,” a state TV broadcaster said, using an acronym for the deal. “The Islamic Republic of Iran no longer faces any limitations in operations.”
It did not elaborate on what levels it would immediately reach in its program.
Another good day. Iran rips the mask off the idea it ever fully complied with the nuclear deal, or that it made a strategic decision to forswear nuclear weapons. Now, it's on to the real job: effectively preventing the ayatollahs from getting such a capability.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 5, 2020
I’m sort of shocked that anyone still actually believed that Iran was not cheating, When the Mossad spirited over a half-ton of highly classified Iranian nuclear program documents out of Tehran in April 2018, shortly before the US formally walked away from the Iran Nuclear Deal, it was demonstrated to all but the willfully blind and self-deluded that Iran had lied on its basic disclosures of the status of its nuclear program.
But there is always that percentage…
My view is that the way of looking at this statement is as a political ploy to try to get the Euros to bring pressure on the United States to let up on Iran. The fact that the Iranian position is “we’re still in the agreement, and we’re open for negotiations, but we’re not going to abide by the agreement’s limits until we get what we want,” shows that they recognize the necessity of maintaining the agreement to Iran’s economic survival.
The New York Times has a more expansive explanation which reinforces my feeling that this is an attempt to drive a larger wedge deeper into the gap between the US and Euros on this subject. In this version, the Iranians demand unconditional surrender by the US as a precondition to new negotiations and it, of course, represents those wily Persians pulling one over on #OrangeManBad:
When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, he justified his unilateral action by saying the accord was flawed, in part because the major restrictions on Iran ended after 15 years, when Tehran would be free to produce as much nuclear fuel as it wanted.
But now, instead of buckling to American pressure, Iran declared on Sunday that those restrictions are over — a decade ahead of schedule. Mr. Trump’s gambit has effectively backfired.
Iran’s announcement essentially sounded the death knell of the 2015 nuclear agreement. And it largely re-creates conditions that led Israel and the United States to consider destroying Iran’s facilities a decade ago, again bringing them closer to the potential of open conflict with Tehran that was avoided by the accord.
Iran did stop short of abandoning the entire deal on Sunday, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and its foreign minister held open the possibility that his nation would return to its provisions in the future — if Mr. Trump reversed course and lifted the sanctions he has imposed since withdrawing from the accord.
Bottom line: Bad agreements are much, much worse than no agreements. The Iran Nuclear Deal was beyond bad, it was on the verge of treasonous. That deal now seems to have been killed off by the Iranians and the Euros have to decide whether they will risk incurring US sanctions by continuing to deal with Iran under the guise of the Nuclear Deal or will they, too, walk away.