This Friday, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate condemned the U.S. President Donald Trump for “igniting new conflict rather than reducing the risk of nuclear war.” The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) emerged as the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize, and it criticized Trump after he withheld certification of the Iran nuclear deal. The Director of ICAN, Beatrice Fihn, released a statement highlighting what the Trump administration did is a “jarring reminder of the immense nuclear danger now facing the world and the urgent need for all states to prohibit and eliminate these weapons.” In addition, ICAN urged renewed diplomacy in the wake of Trump’s irresponsible behaviour.
Luckily, in a joint statement after ICAN’s speech, the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany all agreed to stick to the Iran nuclear deal. Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel all showed concern for possible implications of Washington’s decision to depart from the nuclear agreement, which is regarded as “the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy.”
The nuclear agreement was signed in July 2015 by Iran, all the permanent UN Security Council members, and Germany. It established controls to prevent Iran from making atomic bombs. Recently, Trump threatened to leave the Iran nuclear agreement on the grounds of Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. He described the agreement as “the worst deal ever,” and condemned Iran as a “fanatical regime” who violated the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal. Curiously, Trump also lashed out on Iran for the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. In response, the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani rejoined that the landmark nuclear deal couldn’t be “renegotiated or altered” and “Allegations, threats & profanity will never intimidate Iranians.”
As is repeatedly certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran keeps complying with its terms in the nuclear deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) demonstrated that diplomacy could work well. Like the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the Iran nuclear deal is a crucial step for the world to eliminate nuclear weapons and the serious threat they pose. However, Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal could only lead to a potential proliferation of nuclear weapons. On one hand, the Trump Administration’s arbitrary departure from the nuclear deal would be largely unfair to Iran if the latter turns out to be compliant the whole time. The withdrawal of U.S. support could be a signal that other partners may also decertify the deal in the future. In the end, the fruit of 13 years of diplomacy may just vanish and Iran would also see no reason to stay committed and may restart its nuclear projects. Regional stability could once again be threatened. On the other hand, what Trump did could also set a terrible example for North Korea. As is known, North Korea has never shown enough willingness to reach a nuclear agreement with other countries. Now Trump’s departure from the Iran deal could further dash the hopes of successful negotiations away with North Korea. The rogue state will learn from Trump’s behaviour that their potential negotiation partner is not reliable. Kim Jong-un will never allow a situation in which North Korea gives up nuclear weapons while the U.S. goes on to decertify the deal. If the negotiation with North Korea becomes meaningless, then what should its neighbouring countries like Japan and South Korea do? Should they also develop their nuclear weapons to effectively defend themselves as well? At any rate, what Trump is doing today could result in a reality of more nukes in the future. We can’t afford to see Iran becoming a second North Korea. To ensure regional, or even global security, it is thus extremely crucial for Trump to go back to the Iran deal. Other partners in the Iran deal, like the U.K. or Germany, should jointly put pressure on Trump to respect the deal because if Trump departs from this Iran deal, he could also potentially depart from deals with U.K. or Germany as well.
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