The president has long established his independence when it comes to foreign policy at this point. He has not only charted out a path forward for the United States where it is alone; he has also charted a path for himself where he too is alone. Instead of attaching either himself or his administration to any established norms of doing global political business, he has chosen to buck norms, for better or for worse.
One of the examples of this tendency is his announced plans to withdraw from the landmark Iran Nuclear Deal if his demands for changing the deal are not met. The deal included sanctions relief in exchange for the Iranians taking concrete steps to scale back their nuclear program, but it’s not enough for the president.
The deadline he has given negotiators to come up with a new deal is May 12th. Now, according to Axios, there is yet another reason to believe that he will not go back on his promise to withdraw from the deal if his demands are not met.
According to two senior Israeli officials speaking to Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news, during Trump’s recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he reiterated his commitment to withdrawing from the Iran Deal if his demands are not met.
According to Ravid’s report, published in Axios:
‘The officials say Trump told Netanyahu that until now the three European powers only proposed “cosmetic changes” that he doesn’t find satisfactory. Trump said he demands “significant changes” in the Iran deal itself and not simply the addition of a supplemental agreement between the U.S. and the European countries, according to the officials.’
Trump certainly has an ally in Netanyahu on this issue. The embattled Israeli PM, who has faced corruption allegations culminating in a recommendation from Israeli police for him to be indicted, has long clamored against the deal. The concessions made for the Iranians by the West are too much for the Israeli PM — and for President Trump.
Trump’s demands for the deal include for a change in “the timeliness of inspections at Iran’s nuclear sites and the “sunset clauses” in the nuclear deal that critics worry will allow Iran to return to its nuclear activities after a period of time,” in the description of CNN.
It’s ironic for Trump to be against the “sunset clauses” in the deal when he had no problem signing tax cuts into law late last year that have an expiration date.
Trump has also, in the past, pushed for an additional side agreement with our European allies that would establish “triggers” that would spark sanctions being re-imposed against the Iranians in the event of their conditions being met.
An official speaking to CNN stated that the triggers “would be aimed at ensuring Iran’s nuclear capabilities remain at more than one year from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Whether the president will get his wishes remains to be seen. Ravid notes that there have been two recent rounds of talks over the deal involving representatives from the United States, France, Germany and the U.K., and there will be another one soon.
The case of the Iran Nuclear Deal — known more properly as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — is not the first time that the president has moved to withdraw the United States from a major international agreement. He also moved to withdraw us from the Paris Climate Accord, claiming that it didn’t do enough to protect American interests.
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