[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:
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
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,
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'
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