9 May 2019
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
When President Trump took the US out of the 2015 agreement on Iran's nuclear program, the other parties (Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) opted to continue adhering to its terms. Yesterday, Iran's leaders decided they had had enough. Rather than withdraw completely, they announced certain measures that, over time, will result in a collapse of the agreement. There is still time to keep it alive and working, but the clock has begun ticking.
Iran wants the Europeans to keep their word and establish a barter system so that Iran's oil trade can by-pass American economic sanctions. Iran has kept its side of the bargain while awaiting the creation of this work-around. Yesterday, President Hassan Rouhani announced that he was running low on patience. He gave the Europeans 60 days to sort out the financial problem. If they fail to do so, he will cease selling Iran's enriched uranium overseas (which prevents it from keeping it at home and building a nuclear weapon with it). In addition, he will rev up his centrifuges and enrich beyond the 3.5% U-235 level that is consistent with nuclear energy, producing something more useful in bombs.
UPI reported, "Thursday, the EU's high representative and foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain rejected the demand but said they're still committed to the agreement, which lifted Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran's promise not to develop nuclear weapons." Their joint statement read in part, "We reject any ultimatums and will assess Iran's compliance on the basis of Iran's performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the [nuclear deal] and the [Nonproliferation of Weapons Treaty]."
Iran most likely did not expect acceptance of the demands. "The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy," President Rouhani said. "But diplomacy with a new language and a new logic."
The Europeans are caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. As the New York Times reported today, "If the Europeans agree, they will be subject to sanctions by the United States. If they dismiss Mr. Rouhani's claims, he says Iran will take more dramatic steps."
The US is also ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran. A few hours after Mr. Rouhani made his statement, President Trump announced the imposition of sanctions on Iran's metals industry. He said the move "puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo observed that Iran's "threat to renew nuclear work that could shorten the time to develop a nuclear weapon underscores the continuing challenge the Iranian regime poses to peace and security worldwide."
In truth, what is underscores is the stupidity of the American withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] in the first place. Iran was locked into non-development for 15 years. Now, it may start work again in two-months. If that happens, the White House will almost certainly react. And that won't do the world any good at all.
© Copyright 2019 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.