by Poorang Novak
There are rumours that US President Donald Trump will decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal on 15th October – the next deadline for the president to inform Congress about the future of the deal. He has to do this every 90 days.
Trump has made his disdain for the deal known. He has called it an “embarrassment” and “one-sided” and he admitted that on the two previous occasions when he certified Iran’s compliance, he did so reluctantly.
Under the agreement, Iran promised to freeze its nuclear development for 15 years. In exchange for this, economic sanctions against Iran were lifted.
However, it is not easy for Trump to decertify Iran’s compliance when the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said on eight separate occasions that Iran is complying. The other signatories of the agreement – the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia – also all agree with the IAEA.
If Trump does decertify Iran, he will in effect be reneging on the nuclear deal. The whole international community is waiting to see how this will play out because the United States would be going back on its word on a deal that had been agreed with several other countries.
The United States reneged on its deal with Libya, causing great shame to be cast over America. The deal was made with President Muammar Qaddafi – one of the most violent and aggressive anti-Western leaders.
Towards the end of the nineties, Qaddafi was concerned about Libya’s isolation and wanted to normalise relations with the West. Years of negotiations followed and Qaddafi was told that he would have to concede on two main issues.
Firstly, he had to admit to his country’s role in the Lockerbie disaster where a plane was downed in Scotland. Libya would have to hand over those who were involved to Western authorities and provide financial compensation for the families. Libya complied and sanctions were lifted.
The second condition to remove further sanctions and to normalise relations was that Libya would need to stop developing nuclear and mass destruction weapons. Qaddafi put a stop to it and to terrorist activities towards the US and the West and it dodged involvement in the post 9/11 clash. The US thus lifted further sanctions.
However, Qaddafi came under attack at home during the anti-government “Arab Spring” and the US aided in removing him (resulting in his death).
Back then, there was very little fuss made about the US going back on the deal. Many said that Qaddafi would have done whatever it took to stay in power.
North Korea commented that the US has been playing a “bait and switch” game and that is why North Korea would never make the same mistake as Qaddafi by giving up weapons. The concern is now that Iran is doing the same for fear of making Qaddafi’s mistake.
However, it would be prudent for both North Korea and Iran to also remember that the United States has a history of helping to upend unruly regimes – think Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Serbia, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.