“The world is a step closer to a potentially catastrophic war because the American president is distressed about revelations that he paid off a porn star to cover up an affair.” ~ The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald, the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia and a national online news brand, published a blistering article titled: “Trump to take us closer to nuclear war over an affair with a porn star.”
The subject, of course, is Trump’s efforts to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.
Reuters reported that:
Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Tehran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States in 2015.
Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. But the withdrawal of the United States would probably sink the deal. If that happens, Iran could retaliate by undermining the interests of Washington and its allies in the Middle East.
The problem runs much deeper than just Iran, however.
As The Sydney Morning Herald explained, there are two obvious problems associated with Trump’s efforts to blow up that deal.
I. Trump’s action could derail the upcoming talks with North Korea
As The Sydney Morning Herald explained:
In the coming weeks Trump is to attend face to face meetings with Kim Jong-un in an effort to end that other crisis, North Korea’s advanced nuclear weapons program.
By demonstrating his willingness to abandon what is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, Trump will damage his chances of arriving at an acceptable deal with North Korea, prompting a second nuclear crisis.
II. Trump’s action would cause a rift in NATO to the benefit of Russia
Continuing, The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
In recent days America’s most crucial allies including the United Kingdom, Germany and France have made public and direct appeals to Trump not to abandon the deal. By ignoring them he would cause a rift in NATO to the benefit of Russia. Further, Trump would needlessly undermine America’s global network of alliances and relationships. This is the diplomatic machine that is most responsible for global stability over the past 70 years.
Possible responses by Iran
Reuters reported that Iran would likely retaliate by aggressively working to undermine American interests in the Middle East as well as those of our allies.
- “If the deal falls through, Iran could encourage PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] factions who want the U.S. to leave Iraq to step up rhetorical, and maybe military, attacks against American forces.”
- “If the nuclear deal falls through, Iran will have little incentive to stop its Shi’ite militia allies in Syria from carrying out attacks against Israel. Iran and the forces it controls in Syria could also cause trouble for about 2,000 U.S. troops deployed in northern and eastern Syria to support Kurdish-led fighters.”
- “Hezbollah and its political allies won just over half the seats in Lebanon’s parliamentary election, unofficial results showed on Monday. For the moment, the group is working with its political opponents, notably Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who is backed by Western governments. But if the nuclear deal falls through, Iran could pressure Hezbollah to isolate its opponents, a development experts believe could destabilize Lebanon.”
- “Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in a regional power struggle. Supporters of the Iran nuclear deal say it has prevented the conflict from descending into open warfare. If the deal falls through, Iran could increase support for the Houthis [heavily armed rebel fighters in Yemen], possibly provoking a military response from Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies such as the United Arab Emirates.”
- “Iran also has options directly related to its nuclear program. Iranian officials have said that one option they are examining is to withdraw completely from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an agreement designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the country is not interested in developing nuclear weapons. But if Iran withdraws from the NPT, it will set off alarm bells globally.”
As The Sydney Morning Herald concluded: “Whatever the cause of Trump’s antipathy for the deal, Iran’s position remains clear.”
“Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed to years ago and has been implemented,” its foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said in a English language video posted to YouTube on Thursday.
“We will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith.”