[pjw] NEWS: Trump agrees to keep civilian nuclear use in Iran deal (Vox 7/31)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Thu Aug 1 19:20:08 EDT 2019

So... we're 5 days away from the HIroshima/Nagasaki memorial where we're 
talking about how nuclear everything disproportionately affects poor 
people, women, children, people of color and indigenous people so it's 
hard to get enthusiastic about Iran using nuclear power. THAT SAID, 
anything which inches the US closer to re-joining the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action ("Iran Nuclear Deal") is good, and the below 
article from Vox indicates Trump is bucking his hawkish advisors to let 
the civilian use part of the JCPOA continue.

Before I get to the article, for those who are interested I've posted a 
few photos of Sunday's rally sent to us by Veteran For Peace Mike Hastie 
on the website here:

--dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Trump is expected to keep a key part of the Iran nuclear deal in place -- for
    He could backtrack in only a few months' time.
    By Alex Ward at AlexWardVox Jul 31, 2019, 12:00pm EDT

    President Donald Trump is likely to keep a crucial part of the Iran
    nuclear deal alive -- against the advice of some of the most ardent
    hawks in his administration.

    Multiple reports say the president is planning to renew five waivers
    allowing Tehran to work with foreign countries on building a civilian
    nuclear program. That's a big deal, as cooperating with countries in
    Europe as well as Russia and China helps Iran create nuclear
    infrastructure for purposes other than building bombs. Indeed,
    countries can use nuclear power for creating energy or for medical
    advancements, among other things.

    But without foreign assistance, Iran might not have the capacity to
    alter its Arak reactor, Fordow enrichment center, and other nuclear
    sites for non-military purposes.

    The US-granted waivers, which in this case would last for 90 days,
    allow for those existing relationships to persist despite Trump's
    withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal last year. If those
    measures aren't in place, Iran could break from its nuclear accord
    obligations and possibly make materials for use in nuclear weapons at
    those sites.

    The president reportedly came to his decision after a heated debate
    inside the administration.

    On one side were National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of
    State Mike Pompeo -- fierce critics of the Iranian regime -- who argued
    that Trump shouldn't renew the waivers so that his "maximum pressure"
    campaign to force Tehran to sign a more restrictive nuclear deal would
    have even greater effect. Fifty lawmakers, including Republican Sens.
    Ted Cruz (TX), Tom Cotton (AR), and Marco Rubio (FL), also pushed Trump
    in that direction in a letter sent to him this month.

    But others, mainly Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, said the US would
    have to sanction the Iran-helping countries if Trump didn't extend the
    waivers before their Thursday expiration date. Mnuchin reportedly
    requested that his department have more time to study the ramifications
    of not extending the waivers.

    Trump, for now, seems to have sided with Mnuchin's camp -- much to the
    chagrin of the Bolton-and-Pompeo-led hawks. It's unclear exactly why
    the Treasury chief's argument ultimately persuaded the president, but
    it did enough that an official announcement will be made later this

    The State Department refused to comment on these developments. The
    White House and Treasury Department didn't respond to immediate
    requests for comment.

"This is a holding action, nothing more"

    Tensions with Iran remain high. Over the past month, Iran has shot down
    a US military drone and seized as well as bombed oil tankers in the
    Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway that much of the world's energy
    passes through. The US responded in kind by bringing down an Iranian
    drone above those waters and organizing an international effort to
    patrol the strait so tankers can safely travel in it.

    And not extending the waivers at this moment could have turned a bad
    situation even worse, some experts say. It would've angered not only
    the Iranian regime but also Russia, China, and European nations,
    sparking animosity without much added benefit for the US.

    The waivers "have no economic value," Richard Nephew, an Iran expert at
    Columbia University, told me. "Their only utility is in helping to
    ensure Iran's nuclear program is less of a weapons threat."

    "The only way this is a loss for the hawks [in the Trump
    administration] is if they want that program to be more of a weapons
    threat," Nephew added. "So if they see it as such, it is a bit of an
    admission that they would like a good crisis."

    That may partly explain why Trump has issued waivers before. The last
    time he did so was in May, though he didn't renew two of them that
    separately allowed Oman and Russia to work on projects in Iran. The US
    didn't sanction either country after both nations ceased their work to
    avoid facing possible sanctions -- an argument used by the
    Bolton-and-Pompeo-led camp to let the current waivers expire this week.

    Other critics of the waiver renewal decision say it may weaken any
    support Trump still has for bringing Iran back to the negotiating
    table. "It's difficult to see how extending waivers can win over
    European support for the American position," Behnam Ben Taleblu, an
    Iran expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told me.
    "If anything, extending all remaining waivers risks signaling that more
    than a year in, Washington may just not be that into maximum pressure."

    Trump may be coming around to that point of view, though, as some say
    this will be the last time the president authorizes waivers. "I have no
    doubt that these will be canceled eventually," Nephew, who helped
    broker the Iran nuclear deal, told me. "This is a holding action,
    nothing more."

    He may be right. "We still have the goal of ending these waivers," an
    unnamed senior administration official told the Washington Post on
    Tuesday. "These waivers can be revoked at any time, as developments
    with Iran warrant. But because of the Treasury Department's legitimate
    concerns, we've decided to extend them for now."

    Which means that Trump may have successfully stopped US-Iran tensions
    from growing for now -- but he may not do so again in three months'

More information about the pjw-list mailing list