Monday, November 14, 2016

The Fate of The Iran Deal

  • Congress Preparing to Work with Trump to Squeeze Iran - Josh Rogin
    Republicans in Congress are preparing to work with the incoming Trump administration on a number of foreign policy and national security issues. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told me, "There are several issues that I can work with the new president on, the Iran deal being number one. Trump has been right about the Iran deal, it needs to be renegotiated. I'm going to create leverage for him."
        Graham said he and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) will reintroduce the Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act, which would expand the non-nuclear-related sanctions on Iran to include entire sectors of the Iranian economy that aid in Iran's ballistic missile program.
        Even if the Trump administration keeps the Iran deal in place, the Obama administration's effort to encourage Iran toward better behavior through positive engagement is now over and the U.S. is going back to a policy of pressure, said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Post)

  • Trump Can't Walk Away from Iran Deal, But Could Still Get Tough - Michael Rubin
    Far from creating the most robust monitoring regime, the Iran nuclear deal set a new precedent for lax inspection standards. Inspections remain spotty and the snapback sanctions mechanism practically non-existent. Nor does the agreement address the problem of off-shore nuclear work, for example, conducted by Iranian scientists in North Korea.
        But it would not be wise to walk away from the deal. The deal was crafted to give Iran its rewards upfront. It was the diplomatic equivalent of giving a toddler dessert first and then demanding he eat his spinach. If Trump were to walk away from the deal, it wouldn't hurt the Iranians one bit.
        So what might Trump do instead? As flawed as the deal is, Trump should simply implement it as if his concern were putting American interests first rather than deferring to Iranian interests. Let Iran walk away from the deal if it objects. Trump can be ready with sanctions and, if necessary, other elements of coercion to punish Iran for its noncompliance.
        Iran is upset that its economy isn't meeting its own expectations? Well, perhaps they should tackle their own corruption and lack of commercial law rather than expect a Western bailout. The writer, a former Pentagon official who dealt with Middle East issues, is a resident scholar at AEI.(American Enterprise Institute)


Eleven Arab countries have written to the UN accusing Iran of being "a state sponsor of terrorism" throughout the entire Middle East, and of increasing "aggression in the region and the continuation of support for terrorist groups" since the signing of the nuclear deal. The letter was signed by the UN ambassadors of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
    "We stress that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism in our region, from Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria, to Houthis in Yemen and terrorist groups and cells in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Iraq, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and elsewhere."  
(UN Watch)

The uncertainty around the fate of the Iran nuclear deal underscores the agreement's implicit vulnerabilities, particularly its reliance on executive authority in the absence of broad domestic buy-in or a wholesale resolution of the underlying antagonisms. The American commitment to the JCPOA hangs from the narrow thread of executive authority: the president's power to temporarily waive or suspend economic sanctions on Iran.

Trump wouldn't have to touch the deal to imperil it. He'll have his pick of coercive economic measures to wield against Iran, with nearly three dozen bills circulating in Congress penalizing Tehran for its missile program, regional power projection, and human rights abuses. New sanctions could stymie Iran's efforts to attract foreign investment and rebuild trade ties with Europe and Asia.
The writer is deputy director of the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. 
(Brookings Institution)

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