US should rejoin JCPOA if it really cares about a nuclear Iran — Analysis

It is imperative to increase diplomacy and not decrease the possibility of a nuclearized Middle East.

April 26th, the White House raised concerns about Iran’s alleged acceleration of its nuclear program. It stated that Tehran would be able to obtain enough fissile material within weeks for one nuclear weapon. The remarks echoed those previously coming from the Department of State, underscoring a potential new theater in an already deteriorating global security landscape – even if this assessment may not to be accurate. 

Israeli media reported that Israel and the US are in discussions about alternative ways of dealing with Iran’s nuclear potential. This is because, per these reports, the US has essentially abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also called the “Iran nuclear deal”) framework, i.e. A diplomatic approach to this issue. In the absence of a viable diplomatic solution, it raises questions about whether military action would be possible.

Over 40 ex-top European officials including former defense and foreign ministers of more than half a dozen nations, issued an open letter asking the US to end their negotiations to return to 2015 JCPOA. 

The letter noted the most contentious issue in the negotiations, the designation of Iran’s Islamic Republican Guard Corps as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization,” has obvious compromises – even if those would be politically complicated on the American domestic scene. It also bashed the last two years of US Iran policy as a bad legacy of former President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, which not only failed but made the world an objectively less safe place. 

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These European leaders presented an astute assessment of the situation and really couldn’t have said it better when it comes to Biden’s policies. The fact is that Biden’s unwillingness to negotiate political differences with Tehran, either adopting a compromise or presenting an alternative, is not a viable policy. It’s dangerous and reckless. 

First off, in light of the current global security environment, the United States might be less well equipped to fight a civil war with Iran.

Already, the US has been involved in conflict with Ukraine. It mobilizes a large amount of its military production to supply weapons for that theatre. They are also active in inflaming tensions in Asia-Pacific. Already a major concern of US military strategists has been avoiding a “two-front war” involving Russia and China, never mind a three-front war now involving Iran. 

In fact, Ukraine’s conflict is a good example of the reasons why Iran and the US need to de-escalate. Prior to Russia’s “special military operation,” the US promised a powerful, unrelenting response to any incursion into Ukraine by Moscow. Those words were hollow – and it has sent a clear message, as have other events around the world, that the US is a fundamentally unreliable partner on security issues. The truth is, the US is not ready for dangerous escalations. 

Second, it is highly unlikely that the US will be able to ally itself with Israel in this area. Europe is well aware that the threat of a Middle East nuclear arms race poses a serious risk to its security, and could lead to significant spillover. Since the US retreated, Europe has led the JCPOA negotiations and hosted them. European leaders have routinely urged the US to rejoin under Biden – calls which have regrettably been ignored. 

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The majority of the rest of the world (i.e. the international community) is clearly in favor of nuclear non-proliferation and de-escalation. Anything which could further these preferences would be seen as desirable, meaning Washington’s unwillingness to come to the table is clearly resented by the international community. 

White House officials should come to their senses about the JCPOA. They must also get down to negotiating and reach an acceptable solution with Tehran. Jen Psaki (White House press secretary) may have provided a timeline of several weeks that could be used as a deadline for getting this done as fast as possible. 

Doing so would not only help improve a destabilized global security situation that arguably makes nuclear proliferation a legitimate national defense strategy for countries under “maximum pressure” but would also serve to improve America’s reputation around the world. Refusing to do this would lead to further global security decline and, therefore, more hatred against Washington.

Statements, opinions and views expressed in this column do not reflect those of RT.

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