“The Trump administration has succeeded in dramatically raising the costs to Iran for its sinister behavior, at no cost to the United States or our allies”
Then-president Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal was widely condemned on the right and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who referred to the deal as a “bad” and “very bad deal.” One of then-candidate Trump’s campaign promises was to extract the the U.S. from this very bad deal, and he did so in the second year of his presidency.
Much to the chagrin of Democrats, the DNC, and the former Obama administration, this withdrawal from the Iran deal has been far more successful in stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities and from sponsoring worldwide terrorism than the original, bad deal was sold to accomplish.
Here at LI, we covered the deal’s development and eventual passage:
- Congress Must Say “No” to Funding Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions
- Obama Admin obsessed with accommodating Iranian nuclear goals
- Obama’s Strategy is Retreat In Iran Nuclear Negotiations
- Iran Lobby Targets Legislators Who Oppose Nuclear Deal
- Obama gets his bad Iran deal
- Obama sweeps history toward the Mullahs
- Obama spikes Iran Nuke football
- If Obama chooses the UN over Congress, what next?
- Chuck Schumer Against Iran Nuke Deal (Update)
- Ugliness: Iran deal supporters call Schumer a greedy, disloyal Jew
- Netanyahu Makes Case Against Iran Nuke Deal
- Iran Publishes Play-by-Play on How to Defeat US, Destroy Israel
In his post, I’ve Read the Nuclear Deal, Mr. President, and It’s Awful, David Gerstman noted in 2015:
Iran has maintained its enrichment program, and will be allowed to continued it under the terms of the JCPOA. It still has not come clean about its past nuclear work, and for the sanctions relief to take hold, Iran apparently only has to commit to admitting its past nuclear work to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The JCPOA, in effect, legalizes Iran’s years of violations and rewards them for limiting their level of violations in the future.
The best analogy I could think of would be a corporation having been found in violation of emission standards for years agreeing to a deal that would absolve them of all fines accumulated over the years, have the violations expunged from government records and allowing the corporation to continue polluting at 50% over the standards instead of 100%.
Ultimately and in toto, the Iran Nuclear Deal was a very bad deal, yet the left was adamant about keeping it in place, claiming that its removal would result in Mid-East turmoil and worse.
None of that happened, though, and President Trump is even earning praise from the likes of the New York Times’ Bret Stephens.
It’s been nearly a year since Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, to loud cries that it would bring nothing but woe to the United States and our interests in the Middle East.
So far, the result has been closer to the opposite.
That much was further made clear thanks to excellent reporting this week by The Times’s Ben Hubbard. “Iran’s financial crisis, exacerbated by American sanctions,” he writes from Lebanon, “appears to be undermining its support for militant groups and political allies who bolster Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.”
Well, heavens to Betsy. When the Obama administration negotiated the nuclear deal, the president acknowledged that sanctions relief for Tehran would inevitably mean more money for groups like Hezbollah. But he also insisted it wouldn’t make much of a difference in terms of Iran’s capacity to make mischief in the Middle East.
Hubbard’s reporting suggests otherwise. Iran can no longer finance civilian projects or credit lines in Syria. Hezbollah fighters and Palestinian militants aren’t being paid, and their families are losing subsidized housing. Even Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has complained publicly about the effects of U.S. sanctions.
Nor are those the only benefits of withdrawal. The U.S. is no longer looking the other way at Hezbollah’s criminal enterprises, including drug smuggling and money laundering, the way it did during the Obama administration in order to engage Iran diplomatically. Iran’s protest movement, quashed in 2009, has shown signs of renewed life, not least because of public fury that the regime spends money on foreign adventures while economic conditions worsen at home.
Most importantly, Iran has not used the U.S. withdrawal from the deal to restart its nuclear programs, despite its threats to do so.
Stephens, who is demonstrably not a Trump fan, concludes his piece with the following:
The Trump administration has succeeded in dramatically raising the costs to Iran for its sinister behavior, at no cost to the United States or our allies. That’s the definition of a foreign-policy achievement. . . . [emphasis mine]
Meanwhile, 2020 Democrat presidential hopefuls are vowing to undo this foreign-policy achievement in favor of rejoining the bad Iran deal.
Several candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 have vowed to reenter the nuclear agreement with Iran that President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from last year.
The candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as well as less-known contenders like Florida mayor Wayne Messam and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson, all told Al-Monitor that they will seek to rejoin the agreement if elected.
A spokesperson for Warren said that “as long as Iran continues to abide by the terms of the deal, she would return to it as president in order to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
A Sanders aide said that, “as president, Sen. Sanders would rejoin the JCPOA and would also be prepared to talk to Iran on a range of other issues, which is what Trump should’ve done instead of simply walking away. Rejoining the JCPOA would mean meeting the United States’ commitments under the agreement, and that includes sanctions relief.”
Harris’ spokesperson said that the senator “would rejoin the Iran deal if the US could verify Iran is not cheating and is complying with the strict requirements detailed in the agreement.”
The 2020 election may hinge on a number of aspects—from personality contests and socialism vs. capitalism to debates about the First and Second Amendments, so something like the Iran deal can easily get lost in the shuffle. It shouldn’t.DONATE
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