After years of criticizing the nuclear agreement with Iran, President Donald Trump finally ditched the Obama-era agreement on Tuesday.
Claiming the deal could enable "the world's leading state sponsor of terror" to "be on the cusp of acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons," Trump announced the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
While the rationale behind the decision was, mainly, the fear of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Trump also cited a couple of other reasons, several of which were completely misleading.
For instance, Trump kept claiming even if Iran complies with the "poorly negotiated" deal, a nuclear conflict can still break out "in a short period of time." Researchers believe otherwise.
Under the agreement, the threat of an Iran bomb can be averted for at least 10 years. That is not a short period of time. Also, even without complying, Iran currently does not have the capability to make a bomb for at least the next year. Other experts say it could also be several years.
Bryan Gibson, professor of history at Hawaii Pacific University, explained to Quartz: “With the safeguards in place today, it will take Iran at least a year to get enough enriched uranium. That puts them more than 10 years behind North Korea, who detonated their first atomic bomb in 2006.”
Trump also mentioned how world powers had given Iran "many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash."
It's not a correct statement.
World powers did not give any money to Iran. In fact, when Iran agreed to the deal, some sanctions were lifted, which allowed Iran to regain access to frozen assets. This means Iran basically got what belonged to it in the first place.
As for the "cash" Trump mentioned, during the 1970s, when trade relations existed between the two countries under the shah, Iran paid the U.S. around $400 million for some military equipment. However, the hardware was never delivered after the 1979 Islamic revolution cut off all diplomatic ties. After the deal was signed, the U.S. agreed to pay the $400 million dollars and $1.3 billion in interest. The $400 million was sent to Tehran, in cash, on a plane.
Meanwhile, Iran paid $2.5 billion to the U.S. However, Trump did not mention this.
Trump also mentioned that allies, including Britain, France and Germany, are on the same page as he is.
That's not true, at all.
Britain, France and Germany specifically urged the U.S. not to take steps that would endanger the agreement.
The only two allies that seem to be onboard with Trump's decision are, ironically, Saudi Arabia and Israel. [Fun fact: Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Israel as a legitimate state.]
Trump also made serious accusations against the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection of Iran's nuclear program.
The facts, however, suggest while the IAEA does not have unfettered access to the nuclear sites in Iran, it has an adequate mechanism to monitor the program.
"IAEA inspectors now spend around 3,000 days in the field in Iran each year, twice as many as in 2013," the IAEA noted in November 2017. "As part of their extensive verification activities, they have taken hundreds of environmental samples and placed some 2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment. In addition, the IAEA collects and analyses hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras in Iran, and also collects and analyses several million pieces of open source information each month."
Considering the inaccuracies in his speech, one wonders if Trump even read the agreement, because, if his administration was looking to delay the Iran nuclear program for a longer period of time, the deal was doing just that.
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