Recently Trump has been giving the Iran Nuclear Deal some serious side-eye, calling it “the worst deal ever,” having decertified it last month.
In the past, the international community has tried to prevent Iran, a nation known for funding terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, from obtaining nuclear weapons through economic sanctions. (Although Iran claims that it wants to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.) Iran has claimed to want to eliminate Israel, causing some tension in the country. Negotiations within the international community about curbing Iran’s nuclear developments have spanned years, and the deal was finally ratified in 2015.
What’s in it?
Essentially, the international community (including US, EU, Russia, China) has agreed to remove the economic sanctions and in return, Iran has agreed to reduce its uranium stockpile, decreasing its chance of producing nuclear weapons. However, the deal is not permanent, with the limits on centrifuges and uranium ending in 2025. Iran refuses to completely discard its nuclear development program, claiming that its programs are used for peaceful purposes.
So where’s the controversy? Everywhere.
All the Perspectives
Supporters of the deal argue that Iran has been complying with the terms , making it very difficult for Iran to create a nuclear weapon in a short period of time, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Of course, Iran is hugely in favor of the status quo, because it removed economic sanctions, causing billions of dollars of oil revenue to flow in. Iran’s foreign minister Zarif responded to Trump’s announcement of decertification by saying the decision will undermine U.S. credibility.
Russia, a supporter of the Iran Deal, is an ally of the Assad regime in Syria along with Iran. Putin told the Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei ““We oppose any unilateral change in the multilateral nuclear deal”
Britain, Germany, and France released a joint statement in support of the Iran Deal. Their rationale is that hopefully keeping the Iran Deal would convince nations like North Korea that developing nuclear weapons is not necessary for their security.
Trump claims the Iranian government isn’t trustworthy and that the deal has emboldened Iran’s military expansion in the region, contrary to American security interests (e.g. assisting Assad, the Syrian dictator and detaining American sailors). Iran’s frequent ballistic missile tests are also troubling, because they might be able to carry a nuclear warhead, although this issue isn’t specifically covered by the deal. Furthermore, suspicion has been raised about the credibility of the inspections, especially since the IAEA itself has admitted to be unable to ensure Iran’s full compliance. The UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is rumored to be the strongest opponent of the Iran Deal in Trump’s administration, in contrast to Secretary of State Tillerson.
Israel, seeing Iran as a threat, believes that the deal does not do enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Saudi Arabia has expressed cautious concern over the Iran deal. There is a long history of animosity between the Iran and Saudi Arabia that is difficult to put in few words. You can read about it in depth here.