A bipartisan group of over a hundred retired army officers and former ambassadors exhorts the president to respect the JCPOA. Its cancellation will not improve national security. But the White House seems increasingly in favour of abandoning it, with the risk of triggering a conflict. Open letter from Zarif to the countries of the Middle East: New collaboration policy.
Washington (AsiaNews) - A bipartisan group of over 100 US security experts - including 50 retired army officers and over 30 former ambassadors – is urging President Donald Trump to keep Iran's nuclear deal alive (the JCPOA). Despite a growing movement of intellectuals, military experts, parliamentarians and members of the civil society in favor of the pact with Teheran, the White House seems increasingly in favour of abandoning it.
The document entitled "Keep the deal with Iran - 10 good reasons why", the signatories urge Trump to "maintain the US commitment to the Iran nuclear deal" as doing so will "strengthen America's hand in dealing with North Korea, as well as Iran, and help maintain the reliability of America's word and influence as a world leader." "Ditching it would serve no national security purpose," the statement said.
Penned by a group that calls itself the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon, the coordinated message comes as US officials seem bent on an confrontation with Tehran. Proof of this are the recent appointments of Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, two falcons who have always been the proponents - especially the second - of a war against the Islamic Republic.
Analysts and experts point out that the White House seems to have two tracks of approach to the agreement, defined by Trump in the electoral campaign as "the worst ever": negotiate with the European allies to obtain changes acceptable to the US or abandon it. This second road appears to be the most probable one.
This comes after years of embargo. Western economic sanctions were eased in 2015 in exchange for a deal on the country’s controversial nuclear programme. Largely welcomed by the international community, the deal has been a boost for the economy and investments, stimulating urban renewal and reforms in the energy sector.
However, the United States – and critics of the deal, especially Israel – have maintained sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and the armed support for Shia movements in the Middle East.
On 12 January, Trump extended the suspension of a series of sanctions to Iran for another 120 days. However, he added that this would be "the last time". In less than two months, on May 12, the US leader will have to rule on the fate of the agreement.
Meanwhile in Europe there is growing concern over the end of the agreement. A French diplomatic source, quoted by Le Monde, behind anonymity reveals that "if Iran resumes enrichment of uranium, it will produce a nuclear bomb in a year. In this case, bombardments of Iranian nuclear targets by the United States and Israel will be inevitable. And if they are attacked, the Iranians will respond ".
Meanwhile, in an open letter published on Al-Jazeera, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif appeals to the nations of the Middle East, calling for a new policy of collaboration and trust between all parties. "Like our Arab neighbors with whom we divide maritime and land borders,- writes the head of Tehran’s diplomacy – joint security is based on the principles established by the UN Charter". "The joint security - he adds - requires effective measures for building mutual trust, such as communication of military exercises, transparency in military procedures, reductions in military spending and mutual visits among senior officers".
He suggests starting with the policy of small steps "encouraging tourism among our nations, and promoting joint nuclear safety projects, combating pollution and crisis management". "Once more - concludes Zarif - Iran offers its hand to the neighbors. And it is not a maneuver, but a strategic choice. Iran is deeply convinced that what unites us is far superior to what divides us ".