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: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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