Scrapping the Iran deal will only harm America's international interests

President Donald Trump is about to come face-to-face with his next quarterly brush with Armageddon. Should he, or sho...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 10:13 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 10:13 PM

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
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 71°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 71°
Rockville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 66°
Casey
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 72°
Brazil
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 73°
Marshall
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 73°
Clear & Cool
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 184522

Reported Deaths: 7723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1072474897
Lake12089440
DuPage11558510
Kane9239298
Will8650339
Winnebago3688125
St. Clair3655156
McHenry2961114
Madison222273
Kankakee168668
Rock Island160531
Champaign154719
Unassigned1347197
Peoria134135
Kendall129123
Sangamon103733
DeKalb85029
Boone73523
Jackson65019
McLean57215
LaSalle56020
Macon48923
Adams4454
Randolph4357
Coles40119
Tazewell3888
Ogle3775
Clinton34917
Williamson3415
Stephenson3186
Whiteside31316
Union30321
Grundy2825
Monroe27813
Knox2621
Iroquois2497
Vermilion2152
Henry2071
Morgan2035
Cass20211
Jefferson19217
Warren1830
Lee1482
Montgomery1477
Bureau1442
Marion1380
Macoupin1373
Franklin1320
McDonough12815
Perry1261
Effingham1161
Christian1154
Jo Daviess1131
Saline1131
Douglas1022
Woodford983
Livingston922
Pulaski910
Logan860
Jersey701
Mercer700
Clark680
Shelby601
Fayette583
Washington580
White580
Bond572
Johnson570
Moultrie550
Jasper537
Wayne501
Menard480
Piatt480
Cumberland472
Carroll463
Gallatin450
Lawrence420
Mason420
Ford411
Alexander360
Hancock341
Massac340
Wabash320
De Witt300
Crawford290
Edgar260
Fulton260
Hamilton230
Marshall210
Greene200
Hardin170
Schuyler170
Clay140
Brown130
Edwards130
Pike130
Richland130
Scott110
Henderson90
Pope80
Putnam80
Calhoun70
Stark70
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 68433

Reported Deaths: 2980
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14863719
Lake7101271
Elkhart459777
Allen3635158
St. Joseph315479
Hamilton2513104
Cass17519
Hendricks1750105
Vanderburgh172612
Johnson1652118
Porter119539
Tippecanoe110311
Clark108145
Madison84765
LaPorte83829
Kosciusko81912
Howard81065
Bartholomew74347
Marshall74222
Floyd69444
Monroe68630
Delaware63852
Noble63728
Boone63546
Dubois62612
Hancock62337
Jackson5524
LaGrange54210
Warrick51630
Shelby51126
Grant49629
Vigo47410
Dearborn46528
Morgan42532
Henry36118
Clinton3573
White34710
Montgomery34321
Lawrence32827
Wayne3179
Decatur31432
Harrison29422
Miami2582
Scott25010
Daviess24619
Greene23934
Franklin22410
DeKalb2224
Putnam2228
Jennings21012
Jasper2082
Gibson2004
Steuben2003
Ripley1887
Perry17212
Starke1657
Orange16424
Wabash1613
Posey1580
Fayette1557
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1462
Carroll1452
Wells1342
Knox1310
Huntington1183
Washington1161
Spencer1143
Newton11010
Tipton1075
Randolph1034
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan761
Pulaski721
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio514
Pike460
Parke451
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200