Friday, November 18, 2016

The Looming Potential Disaster of a Broken Iran Agreement

With his typical reckless stupidity, Donald Trump is pledging to destroy the Iran nuclear deal. Here's a discussion of why that's a spectacularly bad idea:

Key passage:

One option would be for the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to continually pass sanctions on Iran until it withdraws from the treaty. The House is already passing bills doing just that this week. Another possibility would be for the U.S. to trigger the “snapback” mechanism contained in the treaty, which allows any of the countries that negotiated the deal to cancel it within 30 days, without a vote by the United Nations Security Council, if they flag a violation. (An ongoing dispute between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran over stockpiles of heavy water could be used as a pretext.) This would result in the U.N. sanctions that were in place prior to the deal to be legally re-imposed, though it’s unlikely that China and Russia would actually enforce them. This would almost certainly cause Iran to pull out of the deal entirely, this time with a lot more sympathy from the international community.

If the unity of the countries that negotiated the deal falls apart, “all of the safeguards that the IAEA has put in place under the deal will go away,” says Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on nuclear nonproliferation at Middlebury College and founder of the Arms Control Wonk blog. “The IAEA access will drop, and they will say that they are no longer in a position to verify the peaceful nature of Iran’s program. They just won’t have the access. You could end up with a situation in which there are no sanctions, and we have no idea whether they’re building a bomb or not. And by the time we figure it out, it might be too late.”

I can only repeat my initial assessment of Trump's election:

We're screwed.

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