President Trump concluded his announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Iran deal with a message of peace: “Great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East,” he said. “There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction. Let it end now.”
1. Confusion in the United States
Outside of satisfying a grudge against President Obama, it’s been hard to comprehend Trump’s rationale for pulling out of the deal. France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Russia all advised Trump to remain in the agreement, as did a bipartisan coalition of over 100 national security veterans, a group of more than 90 atomic scientists and scores of other experts. By opting to tear up the deal rather than work to amend it, Trump has destabilized the Middle East, further distanced himself from world powers and opened the door for Iran to develop new nuclear weapons.
2. Iran suggests it could resume its nuclear program
The day after Trump’s announcement, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano noted that Iran was still complying with the deal. “As of today, the IAEA can confirm that the nuclear-related commitments are being implements by Iran,” he said in a statement.
3. Saudi Arabia is ready for a nuclear arms race
In announcing his decision, Trump used a bizarre bit of logic while attempting to make the point that keeping the deal intact would lead to nuclear proliferation. “If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” he said. “Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.”
4. Oil prices have started rising
There are more than a few economic implications to the United States reimposing sanctions on Iran. Several of America’s overseas allies are engaged in trade with the nation, and Trump said that the U.S. could impose sanctions not only on Iran, but any nation “that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons.”
The most immediate effect has been a spike in oil prices. On Wednesday, they rose around three percent, reaching their highest point since late in 2014, and concern is growing as to how the market will respond in the coming months once the reimposed sanctions begin to take effect. Iran is responsible for a significant portion of the world’s oil, and sanctions will reduce the amount they’re able to export. Though prices have risen since Trump’s announcement, it’s impossible to predict how they will respond in the future. If the situation plays out how the Trump administration hopes, the market should be fine. If tearing up the deal leads to confrontation, maybe not so much.
5. Iran has executed its first direct assault on Israeli troops
Experts have warned that Trump’s decision to back of of the deal might lead to Iran taking a more aggressive approach in its conflict with Israel in Syria. “U.S. withdrawal has accelerated the escalation between Israel and Iran,” Ofer Zalzberg, analyst at International Crisis Group, told the Washington Post. “Iran faces less restraint in terms of the timing for a retaliation.”
It didn’t take long after Trump’s announcement for Iran to retaliate. On Thursday morning, the nation launched 20 missiles at Israel’s position in Golan Heights, according to an Israeli military spokesperson. The attack appears to have been in response to Israeli attack on southern Syria on Wednesday.
There are few issues more important to the security of the US than the potential spread of nuclear weapons or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. Today’s decision to put the JCPOA at risk is a serious mistake