SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Explaining the Iran nuclear deal

CNN's Becky Anderson explains what you need to know about the landmark nuclear deal with Iran and what could happen if it's scrapped by US President Trump.

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 9:58 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2018 9:58 AM

President Donald Trump is about to come face-to-face with his next quarterly brush with Armageddon. Should he, or shouldn't he, scrap the Iran nuclear accord?

Any decision by him to "decertify" Iran's compliance, will have only a cataclysmic impact on the key issues he has cited for ending the pact and snapping back a range of tough sanctions that would accompany any such action.

The President would not be helping American or Western security. He certainly would not be helping hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who have taken to the streets across Iran.

What such a decision will do is seriously compromise American relations with all its major European allies, as foreign ministers of most European countries suggested on Thursday morning in a tense Brussels meeting.

At the same time, withdrawal would give new strength to Russia and China in global affairs -- united against the US in upholding what, to much of the world, appears to be the only real means of restraining Iran from developing nuclear arms. At the same time, America would be left even further isolated as a global pariah.

But such an action by Trump would have other consequences even closer to home. As I suggested here last fall, such a withdrawal by the United States would likely scuttle any number of contracts that could lead to more jobs in America.

While Western European companies might prove to be not unwilling beneficiaries, Iran has also begun to look to even more eager partners. Last November, during a visit to Moscow, President Hasan Rouhani and President Putin signed agreements to collaborate on energy deals worth as much as $30 billion, while some $20 billion more in deals could be en route this year with some western firms, but especially with Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom and Zarubezhneft -- all Russian oil and gas companies.

China, another signatory of the Iran nuclear pact, along with Russia, France, Germany, Britain, and the EU, is also well-poised to take advantage of any Trump action withdrawing from the pact. "Reactivation of sanctions may cause Iran to export oil using the Chinese Yuan denominated contract, which launches on 18 January," Bjarne Schieldrop, Chief Commodities Analyst at SEB told OilPrice.com. "This may spark a move away from the present long-established US Dollar denominated oil trading regime."

Such a development could have far greater consequences than any single Chinese contract. China has long sought to break the stranglehold of the dollar as the dominant currency for the world oil trade. This could be just the opening the Chinese leadership has been seeking for so long.

At a minimum, however, with oil prices again already well above $60 a barrel, any new restraints on the sale of 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude that have just begun to hit world markets, has been estimated by Citigroup's global commodities unit as likely to raise the price of crude by at least $5 a barrel.

But perhaps the most critical immediate impact of any American withdrawal, or even imposition of broader sanctions by Trump, would be to give new ammunition to the already powerful mullahs in Iran. They have laid the blame for recent demonstrations across the country directly at the feet of Western, Israeli and especially American intervention, with the clear need to be suppressed at all costs.

Their powerful Revolutionary Guard forces managed to suppress the first round of protests that spread to more than 80 cities and towns across the country, leaving nearly two dozen dead and at least a thousand arrested and jailed.

Any move by President Trump to re-impose sanctions could deal a mortal blow to further efforts to revive a groundswell of support for a return to some semblance of democracy in Iran.

There remain strong, dark forces within Iran anxious to bring a quick end to the nuclear pact at any economic cost and begin a full-tilt scramble toward an atomic arsenal. So, the willingness of Iran and moderate forces, led by Rouhani, to remain in the accord, could be tested by any sanctions the US might reinstate now as a price for certifying and retaining the full agreement.

Individuals and companies that may suddenly find themselves on an expanded blacklist that had been thinned out under the original agreement could only add their voices to the anti-agreement forces -- new pressure for Iran itself to certify that these new sanctions effectively render the agreement null and void.

In short, the only viable choice for Trump is simply to choose the high road again this time around, with the sad certainty that we'll simply revisit the question again three months from now.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 34°
Robinson
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 32°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 25°
Paris
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
Mattoon/Charleston
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 34°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 34°
Snow Possible
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1068829

Reported Deaths: 20050
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4330899005
DuPage687371145
Will57945867
Lake53068884
Kane45704675
Winnebago26161407
Madison24144462
St. Clair22065424
McHenry21498248
Champaign1534996
Peoria14905239
Sangamon14469234
McLean13143159
Tazewell11860242
Rock Island11834302
Kankakee11431179
Kendall961678
LaSalle9392247
Macon8775179
Vermilion7447112
DeKalb741592
Adams7304117
Williamson6146116
Boone552377
Whiteside5243173
Clinton498985
Coles469080
Ogle458271
Knox4577140
Grundy433954
Effingham429868
Jackson415667
Henry399676
Marion3958111
Franklin382068
Macoupin381094
Randolph370468
Livingston362466
Monroe354570
Stephenson349974
Jefferson3409104
Morgan324189
Woodford317266
Logan307556
Montgomery303141
Lee302472
Bureau299684
Christian297473
Fayette289853
Perry266360
Iroquois257756
Fulton254449
Jersey219456
Lawrence216730
McDonough213251
Saline201453
Douglas198633
Union197332
Shelby196135
Crawford175334
Cass174731
Bond173124
Warren158043
Pike153946
Richland152744
Wayne150343
Jo Daviess148124
Hancock146933
Clark146529
Washington144325
Edgar142753
Carroll142333
Ford138049
Moultrie136428
White132530
Clay130939
Greene125242
Johnson121115
Mercer116729
Piatt116716
Wabash116414
Mason116240
De Witt113527
Cumberland107527
Jasper103816
Massac101430
Menard86810
Hamilton71416
Marshall66213
Schuyler61716
Pulaski6093
Brown60711
Stark49420
Edwards4609
Henderson45116
Calhoun4374
Alexander3887
Gallatin3854
Scott3731
Putnam3452
Hardin3018
Pope2432
Unassigned1100
Out of IL330

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 590211

Reported Deaths: 9310
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion815581297
Lake44306666
Allen31919541
Hamilton28371304
St. Joseph26766371
Elkhart24098341
Vanderburgh18643213
Tippecanoe17422121
Johnson14496284
Porter14399160
Hendricks13870241
Madison10561212
Vigo10483171
Clark10240130
Monroe9076108
Delaware8836132
LaPorte8771155
Howard7897138
Kosciusko787277
Warrick643890
Hancock638797
Bartholomew626694
Floyd6150105
Wayne5933157
Grant5818110
Dubois544372
Boone534367
Morgan516291
Marshall494184
Henry493664
Cass471760
Noble460557
Dearborn458444
Jackson414745
Shelby402179
Lawrence380575
Clinton364539
Gibson356556
DeKalb337363
Montgomery334851
Harrison328542
Knox327839
Miami309843
Steuben306340
Adams295235
Whitley294125
Wabash293045
Ripley292345
Putnam284847
Huntington283557
Jasper282433
White267538
Daviess261672
Jefferson250738
Fayette242348
Decatur242182
Greene233360
Posey232326
Wells229447
LaGrange224161
Clay217932
Scott216937
Randolph208340
Jennings192535
Sullivan189031
Spencer181917
Fountain179725
Washington177118
Starke171341
Jay162821
Owen159537
Fulton159229
Carroll152115
Orange151433
Rush149918
Perry147227
Vermillion144933
Franklin143433
Parke12908
Tipton128232
Pike113625
Blackford107522
Pulaski95237
Newton89421
Brown85530
Benton84310
Crawford7579
Martin70013
Warren6587
Switzerland6205
Union6113
Ohio4677
Unassigned0374