How they see us: Sabotaging the Iran deal
Is U.S. President Donald Trump trying to make the world less safe? asked Sergey Strokan in Kommersant (Russia). His attempts to blow up the Iran nuclear deal could “provoke a new security crisis in the Middle East.” The 2015 agreement, aimed at preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, required Tehran to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium and decommission thousands of centrifuges that could enrich more, in return for a lifting of international sanctions and the release of frozen assets. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is complying with the deal, but Trump says he won’t certify that to Congress, as a U.S. law requires him to do every 90 days. Instead, he has come up with “new charges against Iran,” claiming that Tehran is financing North Korea and destabilizing the Middle East, thereby violating the spirit of the agreement. But if the U.S. kills the Iran nuclear pact, North Korea will become an even more intractable problem. Pyongyang would have an “incontrovertible argument” that the U.S. is untrustworthy and no reason to negotiate with Washington.
Trump is clueless about the thought and sweat that went into the Iran deal, said Carsten Luther in Die Zeit (Germany). More than a decade of painstaking European diplomacy paved the way for 20 months of serious negotiation, resulting in a “historic agreement” between Iran, China, Russia, France, the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. Western negotiators had “no illusions that the deal was perfect.” It was intended to be a first step, to freeze Iran’s nuclear program short of a bomb and buy time for further negotiations. Yet instead of building on what was achieved, Trump wants to tear it down. “What would be the incentive for Iran to agree on joint steps” after that?
Europe has good reason to be angry, said Shafik Mandhai in AlJazeera.com. After restrictions on trade with Iran were lifted, European firms rushed to do business with Tehran. Airbus, for example, is selling more than 170 planes to Iranian carriers for an estimated $13 billion. If the nuclear deal dies and such investments disappear, Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani will “find it increasingly difficult” to fend off hard-line challengers by arguing that the nuclear deal is good for the economy. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said all along that you can’t trust the Americans—will he be proved right?
Trump is turning the U.S. into a rogue state, said Sara Ma’sumi in Etemaad (Iran). His rant against Iran at the U.N. General Assembly last month was “filled with insults, falsehoods, and hostility,” and dishonored an international body founded to promote peace. President Rouhani, by contrast, gave a statesmanlike address, stressing that Iran would honor its commitments, and representatives of other nations quickly assured him that they would stand by Iran. The U.S. would do well to understand that it is “only one country” in a multipolar world. ■