Dec 24, 2017, 8:35 AM
News Code: 82773379
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Iranian nuclear deal: options, global impacts

New York, Dec 24, IRNA - This article focuses on how the domestic dynamism in the US government could address “Iran Nuclear Deal” and what the global impact of the option of USA’s unilateral withdrawals from this deal will be on international institutions and agreements. It also tries to analyze other possible options that Trump administration may consider.

The JCPOA is more than “a (business) deal” and it has been a test case of diplomacy and could be a paradigm for following reasons:
* The need to enhance the nonproliferation regime through tackling the so called crisis of Iranian nuclear program,
* The end of Unilateralism and Imperialism – the victory of Iran’s UN Resolution ‘dialogue among civilization” over Huntington’s clash of civilization,
* Transformation from “arms race” between superpowers - e.g. post WWII Cold WAR” to a UN umbrella negotiation,
* Democratization of collectives of nations – that developing countries integrity is recognized.

Some analysts perceive that President Trump’s policy toward JCPOA (Iran deal) has been affected by his personal character or/and his business experience placing primary emphasis of any phenomenon as in “purely profit oriented motifs”. In contrast, a number of seasoned politicians as well as scientists and strategists differing with Trump praise the deal as a peerless paradigm of diplomacy that delineates between the right of nations to pursue scientific research for nuclear technology that can be used for medical, agricultural, and other peaceful aims and the actual present politics of arm race, tensions and terror in the Middle East-which may not necessarily have risen from the nations in the regions; very likely these have been results of Western powers.

The dispute settlement mechanism generally refers to the ability of any party to complain about potential nonperformance of those issues that are directly addressed in the JCPOA —and not issues that are not covered by the agreement, such as ballistic missiles development or Iran’s regional activities. The deal dispute resolution mechanism does not address the ability of any party to accuse another of violating non-nuclear aspects of the deal.

Possible 'post 60 day options' for the Congress
Trump and his team, never hided their intention and plan to reject the agreed text of JCPOA. In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on September 19, 2017, President Trump stated “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

Under IANARA (Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015), congress is permitted - not required - to consider expedited procedures legislation that reinstate the sanctions that were waived if there will be a failure to certify Iran’s compliance creates a 60- days window. The Act indicates that congress will consider whether remarkable problems can be resolved prior to considering snap back. Trump has the option to continue the sanctions waiver as he did twice before, otherwise, he may seek to dismantle the deal in two ways; he can either re-impose sanctions against Iran, and likely encouraging Iran to withdraw and thus undo the agreement; or he can formally withdraw from the agreement.

Those who support of alteration or renegotiation of JCPOA, indicate that under INARA provision, law permits the Administration a number of choices to cease or change U.S. implementation of the JCPOA but US administration is well aware that by pursuing each option in below, there will be repercussions for his credibility:

1- Decertification but not Re-imposition of Sanctions
Despite of verified evidences of Iran’s continued compliance with the JCPOA by IAEA, the lack of any material breach or new evidence of non-compliance since Trump’s last certification and the view of some of his cabinet members and European countries, the recent Trump decertification had no meaningful justification. Even under INARA, there is no requirement for the administration to re-impose US. Sanctions if there is no certification of compliance, and then the Administration might renew the waivers of U.S. sanctions laws and otherwise decline to re-impose any sanctions. That means the administration continue to its commitments to implement the JCPOA. As an alternative to re-imposition of those sanctions provisions that have been waived or revoked, the Administration might instead to find another way to restore the “Specially Designated National” (SDN) designation to some of the many entities that were “de-listed” to implement the deal. As US government committed to use sanctions waivers under JCPOA, he also might instead of ceasing to waive U.S. sanctions, continue seeking to add some unilateral conditions to disrupt in a way that Iran cannot enjoy the benefits of normal trade with the world.

2- Decertification with Limited Continuation of Sanctions Waivers
Trump has to continue or avoid renewing the waivers of sanctions within US commitment in JCPOA. Such waiver renewals must be separately reported to congress to be consistent with the requirements of the sanctions laws that were waived to implement the deal. It is most probably Trump to continue waive US sanctions by early 2018. Otherwise, the deal will be violated. Continuation of sanctions waivers with continuation of decertification can be a strong signal that Trump may pursue the goal of strategy of ambiguity to prevent others work with Iran. If that happen, it will be continuation of violations.

3- Decertification with Re-imposition of Some or All U.S. Sanctions
INARA has a provision under which sanctions re- imposed and by the INARA process cannot be waived or otherwise not implemented by the President. If U.S. sanctions are re- imposed, Iran might potentially use the justification in Paragraph 26 of the JCPOA to cease performing its nuclear commitments.

4- Decertification with Suspension of Sanctions Waivers:
In 13 October 2017, Trump publically threatened that if Congress and Europeans could not reach a solution then the agreement will be terminated and administration participation in this issue will be over. So, in the event of not acting by congress, it is likely that Trump go keeping his campaign promises and walk away from the deal by not extending sanctions waivers in January 2018 or hesitate for another 6 month period.

What Iran and other parties may do after Trump new decision?
JCPOA is a multilateral agreement. Any decision that links re- imposition of sanctions or revision of conditions set for performance of JCPOA commitments beyond Iran’s compliance will not be welcomed by Iran and other parties. In case of U.S. withdrawal, there are possible implications that can be explained as follows:

Pushing Iran to stop or suspend its commitments or restart negotiations with all parties would be an unrealistic and irrational approach. If Trump withdraw from the deal, Iran can react in a number of ways. If the deal collapse, Iran potentially could resume all or portions of its JCPOA- limited nuclear program by, for example, reinstalling centrifuges, increasing centrifuge production, or producing enriched uranium as mentioned in the text. Iran will get a better position to defy the Unite States non-compliance at the UN and other international organizations and its arguments for defending nonproliferation regime. In case that the deal does not collapse, Iran may continue implementation of JCPOA and work with the European Union countries as well as Russia, China, and other major Iran trading partners.

There is a possibility that US may not withdraw from the deal but chooses a strategy of ambiguity to prevent Iran from enjoying the benefits of the deal. In this case, Iran can go to the joint commission and call other parties to put pressure on US to comply with its commitments, otherwise, Iran has the option to snap back its all peaceful nuclear activities. Finally, after a long history of mistrust between Iran and US, the deal could be an example to decrease the level of mistrust. If the deal fail, this model cannot be followed easily on the same challenge or other matters.

For other parties, the options also remain open. Russia, China as well as the European countries and other major Iran trading partners might continue implementing their JCPOA commitments and work with Iran. EU may get impression that US continue disrespect to its economic and security interests in this part of the world and the possibility of following this unique model for solving crises in Middle East like Yemen and Syria may be challenged. It also would be possible that governmental initiatives to sustain the JCPOA without U.S. Participation would fail and major international companies, might start to exit Iran market, when threatened with U.S. penalties or being shut out of the large U.S. market. In worst case scenario, this may be the intention in US government to cause bring back Iran’s economy to its pre-JCPOA period but European, Russia and China may understand that Trump approach will lead to destabilizing the region and the world. This also can prevent US capability to restore the same international coalition for sanctions against Iran. There is another possibility that in contrast to US withdrawal, China and Russia may take into account in their strategic calculations such failure and be encouraged to leave America alone in exerting more pressure on North Korea.

In conclusion, after congress decision through no action under INARA, Trump should make a decision on sanctions waiver and JCPOA. He has sufficient legal authority to waive the sanctions. As a matter of fact, congress already has given permission the president to use waiver if he recognize that would be in the national security interest. If president continue to waive, it means he will agree with JCPOA in spite of declaring decertification. If president make a decision to stop using waivers, it means, he has violated the deal and Security Council Resolution 2231. In this case, Trump administration will be placed in a position that international community and other parties of JCPOA could hold him accountable for any irresponsible actions that may undermine international agreements and order.

* International relations specialist, resident in New York


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