By Payman Yazdani 

Italian expert says U.S. won’t leave nuclear deal

August 30, 2017

TEHRAN – An Italian university professor believes the U.S. will not leave the Iran nuclear deal because it meets Washington’s interests in the region.

 “I do not think that the U.S. will ever leave the deal… I believe that sticking to the JCPOA is the best way for the U.S. to pursue its regional interests,” Pastori Gianluca, professor of political science from Milan Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, tells the Tehran Times.

Under the nuclear agreement signed between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the European Union in July 2015, Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of financial and economic sanctions. The pact, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, went into force in January 2016. 

President Donald Trump has certified Iran's compliance with the JCPOA twice under a law that requires his administration to notify Congress of Iran's compliance every 90 days. 

However, according to released reports, Trump has assigned a team of his close confidants to find pretexts to decertify Iran's compliance with the international nuclear agreement.

For example, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who visited Vienna last week, said Washington wants to know if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plans to inspect Iranian military sites to verify Tehran's compliance with the deal, something which is fully in contrast to the letter of the JCPOA. 
To shed light on the recent speculations, Tehran Times sought Gianluca’s views. 

Q: Will this new policy lead the Trump administration to leave the nuclear deal?

A: I do not think that the U.S. will ever leave the deal. Breaking the agreement will put them in a difficult position. The European countries are increasingly active in Iran, while Iran and Russia share many common interests. China is keeping a lower profile, but its relations with Iran are traditionally good. Moreover, a U.S.-Iranian crisis could negatively affect U.S.-Russia relations: a centrepiece in Trump’s political agenda. This is why I believe that sticking to the JCPOA is the best way – for the U.S. – to pursue their regional interests.

“I do not think that President Trump really aims to disrupt the JCPOA. He is trying to portray its position as stronger than the position of President Obama but this is due in part to domestic needs.”Q: In view of the U.S. influence on the IAEA, how do you evaluate the visit of Nikki Haley to the IAEA headquarters in Vienna?

A: The UN system is neither under total U.S. control nor a mere tool of U.S. influence; the same is true for IAEA. The Agency has some 170 members from all around the world, and some of them sport positions quite different from the U.S. For many reasons, the U.S. is currently in favour of a tighter application of the deal, but we must not forget that their will is balanced by the will of the other Agency members.

Q: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes the Iran nuclear deal is "one of the most important diplomatic achievements in our search for, for peace and stability and everyone involved needs to do its utmost to protect and support that agreement.” So how can the U.S. violate it?

A: I do not think that President Trump really aims to disrupt the JCPOA. He is trying to portray its position as stronger than the position of President Obama but this is due in part to domestic needs. President Trump also needs to take into account the will of the Congress, where anti-JCPOA factions are strong. Maybe, President Trump is trying to obtain what he believes better conditions in the implementation of the agreement, i.e. conditions that he deems more suited to the U.S. interests. However, I still think that, overall, U.S. interests push the administration to stick to the JCPOA. 

Q: If the U.S. withdraws the deal, will the other parties stop implementing it, too? If no, what will be the consequences for the U.S.?

A: Some key figures of the current administration have repeatedly affirmed that the current deal, despite its limits, is better than no deal at all. Thus – again – I think that they will stick to the JCPOA. In any case, we must remember the U.S. is the centrepiece of the ‘nuclear deal’. If they withdraw, the JCPOA will probably survive, but its political relevance will be greatly reduced. I do not think that a U.S. withdrawal will really affect the system of the U.S.-Europe relations. The U.S. and the European countries have often had different positions on Iran but this fact has never really endangered their mutual relationship.

Leave a Comment

6 + 6 =