But there has been growing speculation that US President Donald Trump is planning to announce Washington’s departure from the agreement, viewed by many as former president Barack Obama's most significant foreign policy achievement.
What will a possible withdrawal mean for Iran, the other signatories and the US itself? Following is a synopsis of PRESSTV’s interview with James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, and Jim Walsh, with MIT's Security Studies Program, about this issue.
James Jatras maintains that Trump’s decision to leave Iran's nuclear deal has nothing to do with the deal itself; rather, it is a result of increasing pressure by the Israeli and Saudi officials who have been seeking ‘regime change in Iran.’
“It is primarily focused on other issues that have nothing to do with the deal. Having to do with the missile technology, the Iranian’s role in Syria war, and the Middle East conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Jatras said.
“But, I think it really comes down to our clients in the region. The Saudis and the Israelis are very hostile to Iran and want the United States to achieve regime change in Iran on their behalf and having this deal is in some sense an obstacle. I think getting rid of the deal becomes that pretext for some other actions militarily against Iran,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jim Walsh opined that it is very difficult to guess what is exactly going on in Trump’s mind but there is no doubt that the US president wants to scrap the JCPOA as one of his campaign promises considering that he has had no success inside the country.
“It is professionally hazardous to try to guess what is in the president’s mind and what he is thinking. I certainly don't know. But we can speculate. I think it might be a combination of things,” he said, adding, “First, Trump sees the JCPOA as Obama’s heritage and it is obvious that he is essentially allergic to anything and everything associated with him.”
“Another thing is perhaps he thinks that he has made a campaign promise and this is part of fulfilling campaign promises or playing to his base,” the analyst continued. “But I can tell you that others in the administration, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the national security advisor, his entire national security team, including the intelligence community, are telling him this is not a good idea. The agreement is working. It is working for all the parties. Let’s not create added crisis and controversies if we don’t have to. But again, Trump is his own person and he makes decisions often by himself.”
Under the JCPOA, Iran has undertaken to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
In case Trump refuses to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal on October 15, Congress would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran that were suspended under the agreement.
The other parties to the deal have advised Washington to stick with the accord. The International Atomic Energy Agency has also regularly verified Iran’s full commitment to its side of the bargain.