Donald Trump doesn’t hate the Iran deal because it is a bad deal. He hates it because it is by all accounts a decent deal that has actually been working.
If you doubt this statement, ask yourself: What sensible argument has Trump ever offered to support his opposition to the deal? Sure, he has used his ever-expanding and descriptive vocabulary to call it some grandiose names, but he hasn’t actually explained what is wrong with it.
If the deal is so bad, why would he even want to bother pursuing a deal with North Korea? What deal could he possibly make that wouldn’t involve an arrangement similar to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? (We will turn to this point in a moment).
As Vox explained last year:
“Trump doesn’t hate the Iran deal for policy reasons. He’s never offered a detailed public policy case against it, and experts don’t really believe he has one. ‘I don’t think anyone actually thinks he knows anything about the particularities of this agreement,’ says Sarah Kreps, a professor at Cornell University who studies arms control agreements.”
So what could he possibly hate about the Iran deal? If he does have sound reasons, why has he never presented them? What can he possibly hope to achieve with North Korea after proving to the entire world that the U.S. can renege on its word at any given time?
The blunt truth about the Iran deal is that Donald Trump rejects it because it has been working. His own administration has been forced to consistently certify Iran as compliant with the terms. The neocon dream for people like Trump and the warmongers who advise him is to prevent the U.S. from being the unilateral cause of the destruction of the deal (as it transpired, the U.S. was one hundred percent responsible for its demise). Rather, the strategy appears to be to devise a deal so impossible for Iran to accept that Iran will, in the eyes of the international community, become the dangerous and untrustworthy party in major need of a military intervention, as the U.S. has long painted the situation.
As outlined in the neoconservative guide to destroying Iran, titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran”:
“For those who favor regime change or a military attack on Iran (either by the United States or Israel), there is a strong argument to be made for trying this option first. Inciting regime change in Iran would be greatly assisted by convincing the Iranian people that their government is so ideologically blinkered that it refuses to do what is best for the people and instead clings to a policy that could only bring ruin on the country. The ideal scenario in this case would be that the United States and the international community present a package of positive inducements so enticing that the Iranian citizenry would support the deal, only to have the regime reject it. In a similar vein, any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context – both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer – one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down.” [emphasis added]
You see, the Iranian nuclear deal in its current form doesn’t include a major source of tension between Iran and the U.S., namely, Iranian ballistic missile testing. Trump wants to include this as part of the agreement. Why would he want to do that? For exactly the reason above: to give Iran such an inconceivable agreement that even if Iran decided to sign it in good faith, the Islamic Republic could never realistically implement as it would lose one of its major deterrents against a U.S. or Israeli strike.
And this is where the upcoming summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un becomes that much more important. Trump is purportedly trying to send a strong message to North Korea that he wants a ‘real deal.’ So what is a ‘real deal’ in Trump’s eyes if the JCPOA didn’t cut it for him?
A ‘real deal’ is one North Korea cannot realistically abide by. Even if they could, the terms of the agreement would put the country in such a defenseless position that the U.S. could easily formulate an invasion without any significant repercussions.
Further, we have to remember that the ultimate goal of the Washington D.C. establishment is regime change in both Iran and North Korea, two countries with abundant resources that are far too close to America’s chief rivals, China and Russia. Remember that the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy listed China and Russia as the top threats to the United States, not ISIS or al-Qaeda or any of the entities the U.S. is supposedly at war with.
Either way, the U.S. is not entering either of these agreements in good faith and has only one agenda throughout this entire process. If you don’t believe this, you need only turn to the op-eds written by newly appointed national security advisor John Bolton, who has openly advocated for violent regime change strategies in both North Korea and Iran.
A deal that Iran or North Korea complies with while getting on with their lives and rebuilding their countries’ respective economies without succumbing to the United States’ interests is a deal-breaker for Washington. As Executive Board Member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Saïd Amin told Anti-Media via email, “Kim Jong-un would be a fool to believe any promises made by the Trump administration.”