MIT scientist criticizes Trump's pattern of withdrawal

Tehran, Sep 9, IRNA – A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist criticized US President Donald Trump's pattern of withdrawal from the historic nuclear deal, saying that it is 'multilateral and could survive US withdrawal.'

John Tirman, Executive Director and Principal Research Scientist at MIT Center for International Studies made the remarks in an interview appeared on the Persia Digest website on September 7.

'The IAEA reaffirmed last week that Iran was in compliance with the nuclear deal. But, President Trump had said earlier that Iran was unlikely to remain committed until October. News of an exit plan from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by the US was also published by John Bolton. Nevertheless, the EU, China, and Russia, and recently BRICS, have reiterated the importance of all parties to remain in compliance with the JCPOA,' Persia Digest quoted Tirman as saying.

Commenting on main reason of President Trump’s opposition to the land mark nuclear deal also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tirman said, 'Trump is echoing the right wing abhorrence of the nuclear agreement. Republicans generally opposed JCPOA at the time of the negotiations. They insist that Iran is not trustworthy and that the deal is masking covert activities aimed at producing a nuclear weapon. Trump is also motivated by his hatred of all things Obama accomplished, and JCPOA is Obama’s major foreign-policy achievement.'

Answering a question on $1.7bn which has been returned to Iran in cash, he added 'The money returned to Iran was Iran’s frozen assets, not U.S. funds, but this distinction is intentionally blurred in right-wing discourse, especially on social media.'

Commenting on whether [President] Trump will leave Iran nuclear deal in the same way he left the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Paris Agreement, Tirman noted 'I expect him to withdraw from the deal. This is his pattern. Unfortunately, there are many in the US besides his political base who do not like the deal, so-called neocons, the Israel Lobby, and some in the national-security community. They have influence that is larger than their numbers. There are those in the administration—McMaster and Mattis particularly—who are not friends of Iran but may advise not withdrawing from JCPOA, because the consequences for regional security would be dire. Like the Paris Agreement, however, JCPOA is multilateral and could survive US withdrawal.'

Commenting on the consequences of withdrawing the agreement for the US, American scholar said 'It’s difficult to predict consequences. A lot depends on Iran and how the IRI reacts in that event.'

'There are indications that the other five major parties to the agreement will remain dedicated to it as long as Iran complies. The EU foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, has said as much, and Russia and China are unlikely to be the deal breakers in this case. It is now a U.N. agreement, in effect, having been endorsed by the UN Security Council. It is very much in Iran’s economic interests to remain in the JCPOA,' Tirman said.


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