First, the lies. With Donald Trump, that is the best place to start.
In a White House news conference on April 30, Trump said the following about the Iran deal:
“In seven years, that deal will have expired, and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That’s not acceptable. Seven years is tomorrow.”
Trump has never liked the Iran nuclear deal, and has said that he will make a major announcement about it soon.
“The Iran nuclear deal is a terrible one for the United States and the world,” Trump tweeted in April 2015, a day after the deal was finalized. “It does nothing but make Iran rich and will lead to catastrophe.”
But is Trump correct in saying that under the accord, Iran is “free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons” after seven years?
In short, the answer is “no.” That is not even close to true, according to experts who have been part of creating and monitoring the agreement with Iran.
“President Trump’s statement indicates either abject confusion over the parameters of the [Iran deal] or a willful misinterpretation of that deal,” said Alexandra Bell, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “Either way, it is dangerous, as Iran will never be ‘free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons.’ ”
So what will happen if the president announces that he will not continue a waiver of sanctions against Iran, as is expected, and if the United States walks away from the nuclear deal?
Well, Iran has pledged not to develop nuclear weapons — ever, and if the U.S. breaks their end of the bargain then Iran will not be bound to keep their word either. They may decide to go ahead and manufacture new nuclear weapons regardless of what was agreed to earlier.
And just to be clear, Iran has definitely threatened to reactivate its nuclear program if the United States reneges on any of the terms of the agreement.
What Trump may not understand is that right now there is unprecedented monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activity. According to the Washington Post:
“Every day, workers arrive at the U.N. nuclear agency [in Vienna] to monitor live video from inside Iran’s once-secret uranium enrichment plants, part of an unbroken stream of data delivered by cameras and other remote sensors installed as part of the 2015 accord. Each week, scientists in lab coats analyze dust samples collected from across Iran, looking for minute particles that could reveal possible cheating.”
If the Iran agreement goes away, so does the monitoring, and experts have said that if that happens, Iran will be free to develop nuclear weapons in secret without the United Nations or anyone else knowing about it.
So with all of his bluster and lies, Donald Trump once again is making a mess of things, and probably making it more likely that Iran will become a nuclear power. If this happens, war in the Middle East is also much more likely to happen, thanks to our unhinged president.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.