By Javad Heirannia

Trump won’t renounce JCPOA: ex-senator

January 5, 2017

TEHRAN – Bennett Johnston, a former Democratic senator, tells the Tehran Times that Donald Trump will not “renounce” the international nuclear deal with Iran.   

"I don’t believe that Trump would actually renounce the agreement,” says Johnston who represented Louisiana in the Senate from 1972 to 1997.

Dozens of American top scientists wrote to the president-elect on Monday to urge him not to abandon the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Johnston says Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, also views the JCPOA as a “done deal and (that) it would be foolish to renounce it.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you think Trump will deal with the nuclear deal as he had claimed that the U.S. had given too much concessions to Iran?

A: I don’t believe that Trump would actually renounce the agreement.  He may try to put on some additional sanctions (not under JCPOA but under other provisions), but I don’t believe he will renounce the agreement.

Q: Trump's circle of advisers are severe opponents of Iran and the nuclear deal. How can advisors influence Trump's foreign policy toward Iran?

A: It remains to be seen how influential the circle of advisers is.  Tillerson has not weighed in to my knowledge on Iran and I think he is smart enough to realize that this is a done deal and it would be foolish to renounce it.  And, after all he will be secretary of state. It remains to be seen how much influence the national security advisers will have. My guess is that Tillerson will trump them. 

“In my judgment Republicans will act differently once they are in power.”Q: Some argue Trump will not violate the JCPOA but instead will place sanctions on Iran under human rights excuses. If so, what will happen to the nuclear deal?

A: I do not believe he will violate the JCPOA.  Now, what additional sanctions with respect to human rights he could bring up -- that remains to be seen - but my guess is that it will be less than a renunciation of the treaty.  It will be because of difficulty with Iran, but will not fracture the treaty.

Q:  Suppose Trump violates the JCPOA, then what will be the reaction of Washington’s European allies?

A:  I think it is very clear that for the allies, as far as they are concerned, this is a deal and they would not follow the United States in renouncing the JCPOA.  He would not have anyone to follow him.

“I think he [Rex Tillerson who will be secretary of state] is smart enough to realize that this is aI have felt for a long time that this deal is clearly a very good deal for both sides.  In my judgment, we had been headed to war because everybody in America said "force is on the table."  And, if Iran was enriching uranium and we had no inspectors, then it follows, as from night to day, that force would be the alternative.  And of course the Israelis affirmatively wanted to use force on two occasions. 

So, this agreement has put that issue to rest, and in my judgment Republicans will act differently once they are in power.  It is easy to pass all these resolutions in the Congress when they know the president will veto it and it will come of naught.  It is quite another thing to do it when their actions have real consequences.

JH/PA


 

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