Future of Iran nuclear deal in question following comments by President Trump

By Ruby Van Dyk || Staff Writer

Last week, President Trump made a speech in which he disavowed the Iran Nuclear Deal, accusing Iran of spreading “death, destruction and chaos around the globe.” Trump then went on to suggest that it is in the United State’s best interests to reevaluate the deal and possibly remove itself entirely if it cannot come to a consensus of what to change. This has sparked major controversy, with many Americans expressing concern over the possible dissolution of the deal and its implications. As the Iran deal continues to be a topic of contention, it is important to understand how it was formed and what it entails.

Prior to the nuclear deal made by the international community with Iran in 2015 under the Obama administration, the relationship between the United States and Iran had been in a deep freeze. This freeze dates back to 1979 when the Iranian Revolution had occurred, resulting in a long period of no direct, bilateral communication between the two countries. During this time, Iran was developing its nuclear capabilities and establishing itself as a nuclear state. The president of Iran at this time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was speaking candidly about Iran’s program and the international community began feeling nervous about the rate at which Iran’s nuclear program was expanding. The U.S. and other Western countries began to be convinced that the program was geared towards nuclear weapons, although the Iranians insisted it was peaceful. Because of this, President Obama begin to work to rally the international community towards putting together a deal with Iran that would limit their nuclear capabilities and program. The Obama administration began to work with the International community to enforce sanctions on Iran in order to send a message that there was a clear separation between the Iranians and the rest of the world.

As this leverage began to take hold, the Untied States was left with the problem of how to approach negotiations and conversation with Iran. The lack of established diplomatic relations between the two countries made this difficult, and forced the U.S. to think outside of typical negotiation protocol. The United States landed on the idea of setting up a diplomatic channel through a third country, Oman.

Oman is a small country nestled on the Persian gulf with a population of about 4.5 million. The United States approached Oman as its third country for the diplomatic channel because Oman had managed to maintain good relations with both the U.S. and Iran. Both Oman and Iran agreed to the idea in 2012 and the channel started to become authorized. In the beginning, this channel was kept extremely secret amongst members of the U.S. government and was not until 2013 that the existence of the private channel was revealed to the public. The talks that were taking place through this channel continued for over a year, and were then extended by months in November of 2014. Then in April 2015 the United States and the rest of the international community announced that Iran had agreed to a long term nuclear deal that would limit their nuclear capabilities. In exchange for Iran putting brakes on its program, the U.S. alleviated sanctions and allowed for Iran to do business more widely.

Now in 2017, President Trump’s criticisms towards the deal have to do with the fact that he believes that it doesn’t do enough to prevent the country from developing its own ballistic missiles or supporting terrorist groups. But many supporters of the deal believe that without it Iran might be free to pursue its nuclear program completely unchecked by the rest of the world, which could lead to nuclear war. In the future weeks, President Trump’s actions will be crucial to the future of the deal.

First-year Ruby Van Dyk is a staff writer. Her email is rvandyk@fand.edu.

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