With just hours left for the US President Donald Trump to take the momentous decision on 2015 Iran nuclear deal, people feel he may walk away from the accord because of domestic compulsion.
Trump personally disapproved the nuclear deal for “disastrous flaws” ignored by the parties that signed it giving Iran undue advantage.
Trump also campaigned against the deal in 2016 and he has to keep his promise to his voters ahead of the November mid-term elections and boost his party’s strength in Congress.
Since the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton also oppose the deal, Trump may pull out of it.
The US president is left with another option: Suspend sanction waivers for Iran without imposing new curbs thereby giving its European allies time to think of a new deal by involving Tehran.
Iran’s economy is not in good shape. Although it threatens to return to uranium enrichment if the US pulls out, it will not leave the deal since France, Britain and Germany still support it.
But US wants Iran’s missile systems and support for militant groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen to be addressed in the revised agreement.
Trump is particularly upset by the ‘sunset clauses’ in the 2015 deal that let some restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme to expire. This, according to him, will provide Tehran another opportunity to build nuclear weapons.
If Trump walks away from the accord, it will raise tensions in the Middle East and even lead to a war with Iran.
It will also expose the inconsistency in US foreign policy with regard to respecting international accords. If Trump dumps the Iran deal, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will think a similar deal by Pyongyang with Washington may meet the same fate.
If Trump leaves the nuclear deal without a Plan B, it could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
True, the 2015 agreement was flawed as the big powers were desperate to clinch a deal but it was at least functional. Washington admits that Tehran did not breach the accord.