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Scrapping the Iran deal will only harm America's international interests

President Donald Trump is about to come face-to-face with his next quarterly brush with Armageddon. Should he, or sho...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 9:13 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 9:13 PM

President Donald Trump is about to come face-to-face with his next quarterly brush with Armageddon. Should he, or shouldn't he, scrap the Iran nuclear accord?

Any decision by him to "decertify" Iran's compliance, will have only a cataclysmic impact on the key issues he has cited for ending the pact and snapping back a range of tough sanctions that would accompany any such action.

The President would not be helping American or Western security. He certainly would not be helping hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who have taken to the streets across Iran.

What such a decision will do is seriously compromise American relations with all its major European allies, as foreign ministers of most European countries suggested on Thursday morning in a tense Brussels meeting.

At the same time, withdrawal would give new strength to Russia and China in global affairs -- united against the US in upholding what, to much of the world, appears to be the only real means of restraining Iran from developing nuclear arms. At the same time, America would be left even further isolated as a global pariah.

But such an action by Trump would have other consequences even closer to home. As I suggested here last fall, such a withdrawal by the United States would likely scuttle any number of contracts that could lead to more jobs in America.

While Western European companies might prove to be not unwilling beneficiaries, Iran has also begun to look to even more eager partners. Last November, during a visit to Moscow, President Hasan Rouhani and President Putin signed agreements to collaborate on energy deals worth as much as $30 billion, while some $20 billion more in deals could be en route this year with some western firms, but especially with Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom and Zarubezhneft -- all Russian oil and gas companies.

China, another signatory of the Iran nuclear pact, along with Russia, France, Germany, Britain, and the EU, is also well-poised to take advantage of any Trump action withdrawing from the pact. "Reactivation of sanctions may cause Iran to export oil using the Chinese Yuan denominated contract, which launches on 18 January," Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief Commodities Analyst at SEB told OilPrice.com. "This may spark a move away from the present long-established US Dollar denominated oil trading regime."

Such a development could have far greater consequences than any single Chinese contract. China has long sought to break the stranglehold of the dollar as the dominant currency for the world oil trade. This could be just the opening the Chinese leadership has been seeking for so long.

At a minimum, however, with oil prices again already well above $60 a barrel, any new restraints on the sale of 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude that have just begun to hit world markets, has been estimated by Citigroup's global commodities unit as likely to raise the price of crude by at least $5 a barrel.

But perhaps the most critical immediate impact of any American withdrawal, or even imposition of broader sanctions by Trump, would be to give new ammunition to the already powerful mullahs in Iran. They have laid the blame for recent demonstrations across the country directly at the feet of Western, Israeli and especially American intervention, with the clear need to be suppressed at all costs.

Their powerful Revolutionary Guard forces managed to suppress the first round of protests that spread to more than 80 cities and towns across the country, leaving nearly two dozen dead and at least a thousand arrested and jailed.

Any move by President Trump to re-impose sanctions could deal a mortal blow to further efforts to revive a groundswell of support for a return to some semblance of democracy in Iran.

There remain strong, dark forces within Iran anxious to bring a quick end to the nuclear pact at any economic cost and begin a full-tilt scramble toward an atomic arsenal. So, the willingness of Iran and moderate forces, led by Rouhani, to remain in the accord, could be tested by any sanctions the US might reinstate now as a price for certifying and retaining the full agreement.

Individuals and companies that may suddenly find themselves on an expanded blacklist that had been thinned out under the original agreement could only add their voices to the anti-agreement forces -- new pressure for Iran itself to certify that these new sanctions effectively render the agreement null and void.

In short, the only viable choice for Trump is simply to choose the high road again this time around, with the sad certainty that we'll simply revisit the question again three months from now.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 484675

Reported Deaths: 9480
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33151493
Hinds31184589
DeSoto30803365
Jackson23735349
Rankin21390373
Lee14963221
Madison14206272
Jones13430227
Forrest13199241
Lauderdale11623307
Lowndes10501176
Lamar10258130
Pearl River9151221
Lafayette8268137
Hancock7534113
Washington7144152
Oktibbeha6989124
Monroe6533167
Neshoba6489201
Warren6486166
Pontotoc632993
Panola6278127
Marshall6165126
Bolivar6129145
Union576089
Pike5626138
Alcorn540590
Lincoln5310132
George473572
Scott461596
Leflore4495140
Tippah448180
Prentiss447979
Itawamba4457100
Adams4429117
Tate4420103
Wayne434667
Simpson4339114
Copiah432988
Yazoo423686
Covington417192
Sunflower4155104
Marion4111104
Coahoma3986100
Leake398286
Newton372375
Grenada3565104
Stone351360
Tishomingo338389
Attala325987
Jasper316062
Winston305691
Clay297374
Chickasaw287866
Clarke283290
Calhoun267741
Holmes262887
Smith252249
Yalobusha224347
Tallahatchie221150
Walthall211758
Greene209945
Lawrence207034
Perry201054
Amite199452
Webster196942
Noxubee179339
Montgomery172954
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162537
Tunica154235
Benton143035
Kemper138840
Choctaw128826
Claiborne127134
Humphreys127038
Franklin116928
Quitman104227
Wilkinson102036
Jefferson91533
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 790648

Reported Deaths: 14025
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1117431765
Mobile709021237
Madison50032633
Shelby36350315
Baldwin36278495
Tuscaloosa34034548
Montgomery33229678
Lee22712220
Calhoun21297410
Morgan19852335
Etowah19341462
Marshall17716274
Houston16862386
St. Clair15479305
Cullman14659258
Limestone14609188
Elmore14507264
Lauderdale13557281
Talladega13015236
DeKalb12214237
Walker10604330
Blount9735157
Autauga9691137
Jackson9400158
Coffee8934175
Dale8631173
Colbert8545184
Tallapoosa6688181
Escambia6599121
Covington6466167
Chilton6395144
Russell608755
Franklin5805101
Chambers5425134
Marion4818120
Dallas4713189
Clarke464079
Pike463297
Geneva4433117
Winston427395
Lawrence4124108
Bibb410281
Barbour347470
Marengo326485
Monroe320253
Butler318490
Randolph306656
Pickens306474
Henry302658
Hale293085
Cherokee290855
Fayette280373
Washington245548
Crenshaw238770
Cleburne236751
Clay229265
Macon220658
Lamar200443
Conecuh182046
Coosa170835
Lowndes170858
Wilcox159736
Bullock149543
Perry136537
Sumter124736
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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