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Quote of the Day: “the United States can never be trusted in any deal.” “The common people will hate America more if Trump withdraws.”– Hamidreza Taraghi (Iranian hardliner)

2018-05-17

“It took 30 years of diplomacy and an unlikely confluence of factors to get Iran to agree to the JCPOA’s limits on its nuclear program,” wrote Nicholas Miller, a nonproliferation expert at Dartmouth University. “Attempting to achieve a better deal without any of these favorable conditions would be quixotic at best.”

“The pitched battle between political moderates and hard-liners is so perilous that there is even talk of a military takeover,” wrote Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran bureau chief of the New York Times. He added that Trump’s move tipped the scales against the so-called moderates: “Hard-liners, who have long lost popular support but control security forces, the judiciary and state television, are set to declare victory, since they have always argued that the United States can never be trusted in any deal.”
“The common people will hate America more if Trump withdraws,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a hard-line analyst, to Erdbrink. “They will face hardship and be poor. They will hate Trump. That’s good.”

This may all be by design: The Trump administration, particularly noted hawks like national security adviser John Bolton, could be applying pressure in the belief that it will cause the regime in Tehran to collapse. But it’s more likely a prelude to greater instability, further crises and perhaps even military confrontation.
“I think there are those in the administration who have a fantasy that we can somehow have a bloodless … peaceful change in Iran if the president just punches the right buttons,” said Wendy Sherman, a former senior State Department official and Obama’s lead negotiator, in a phone call with Washington-based journalists. “That is an extraordinarily simplistic and naive understanding of this theater.”

These quotes come from a Washington Post article about Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear accord (the Joint Plan of Action)… According to multiple observers, the JCPOA was cobbled together after 30 years of work by professional diplomats from European, Iranian, and American embassies.  It represented the best possible agreement limiting Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and replaced sanctions that have been falling apart over the last few years.  Now, Mr. Trump will attempt to reimpose sanctions unilaterally and expects to get a better deal all by himself (he has  hollowed out the State Department and dismissed professionals who could have helped to negotiate.)

The worst part of this precipitate action by Mr. Trump is the negative effect it will have on North Korea’s ability to trust the United States in negotiating an end to the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula, indeed the entire Korean war.  The North Koreans will negotiate with South Korea and appear to be well on their way to a peace treaty without Mr. Trump’s direct involvement.  Cynics can have some hope that the end of the Korean war will occur without any credit accruing to the Trump administration.

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