U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal signed with six countries, including the U.S. and several European nations. He says that the U.S. will impose the “highest level of economic sanctions” on the Middle Eastern nation. The U.S.’s unilateral bolt from the multilateral agreement may cause further confusion in the Middle East. This action lacking in vision is anything but responsible.
Iran signed a nuclear deal with the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China in 2015. President Trump was critical of the agreement even during his presidential campaign, and he has been warning that the U.S. would withdraw unless flaws in the deal were rectified.
In his address, President Trump noted that the U.S. will “explore a comprehensive and lasting solution” to the Iranian nuclear issue, but he charted no specific course. This suggests that he is trying to impress the electorate as a strong leader and a man who honors his pledges before the midterm elections.
The nuclear issue will not be resolved by merely ramping up pressure without presenting a strategy after the withdrawal. Disappointment is sweeping over the U.K, France and Germany, which attempted to persuade the U.S. to remain in the deal. President Trump’s diplomatic approach, in which he turns his back on international cooperation, will deepen the rift between the U.S. and Europe and further isolate the U.S.
President Trump noted that his latest action is sending a “critical message” to North Korea, which will soon hold a summit with the U.S. It is speculated that he demonstrated a commitment not to make concessions in denuclearization negotiations. But his action with regards to the Iranian nuclear deal may leave the impression that the U.S. is “a nation that can’t be trusted,” a nation that scraps international agreements at its own convenience.
The U.S. announcement of its withdrawal provoked a backlash in Iran. But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani noted that Iran will negotiate with Europe and other concerned nations on whether the agreement not joined by the U.S. can be kept intact.
What is important is not to allow Iran to resume its nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment, because of the U.S. departure from the deal. If the nuclear agreement falls apart and Iran resumes its nuclear development, this will fuel competition in nuclear development in the Middle East.
The tension over Iran is beginning to impact the global economy, with crude oil prices renewing their highs for the first time in three years and five months. How to keep Iran in the nuclear deal is a pressing task for the international community, including Japan.