Middle East

Oct 16, 2017

What is the Iran nuclear deal and why is Trump so huffy about it?

The "Iran Deal" has been long been described by Donald Trump as the "worst deal ever". So what does his refusal to re-certify the agreement mean?

Charlie Lewis — Journalist

Charlie Lewis


"As I have said many times the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided deals the United States has ever entered into," said Donald Trump in his speech on Friday announcing that he did not intend to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal. Trump is not always a paragon of consistency, but in this case, he tells no lie. He has consistently railed against the Iran deal since the beginning of his presidential campaign, vowing to "renegotiate" it when in office. So how did we get here?

What does the deal contain?

After years of false starts, failed negotiations and accusations that Iran was violating the non-proliferation treaty they had ratified in 1970, the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was struck in 2015, bringing together the United States, Iran, France, Germany, the United Kingdom as well as the previously recalcitrant China and Russia. 

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24 thoughts on “What is the Iran nuclear deal and why is Trump so huffy about it?

  1. Itsarort

    Sooo, what part of the non-proliferation treaty allows Israel to have more the 200 nukes?

    1. old greybearded one

      The bit that says Israel can do no wrong

  2. old greybearded one

    Surely the reason here is linked to Trump’s dodgy Saudi mates? Saudis hate Iran, ergo so does Trump. Iran the terror sponsor is mainly about Israel and insignificant compared to the Saudi’s efforts.

  3. Rais

    “By the same token, even supporters of the deal concede that while it has been effective in limiting Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, it has barely improved Iran’s behaviour in other areas…” It was never meant to prevent Iran from pursuing its national interests in other areas. The agreement, which by the way is an international agreement that an American president has no authority to cancel, is achieving its sole purpose. It can’t be criticised for not achieving some other unrelated purpose.

  4. klewso

    Dubowitz was on News Hour (Saturday) – apparently his mob has Trump’s ear out on loan at the moment?
    Like watching Wolfowitz (or one of his pack, when they had Junior Bush’s ear where they wanted it, over Iraq) – minus the personality?

    (Anyone catch ‘The Shadow World’ – SBS last night?)

  5. zut alors

    As a matter of course Trump seems to disapprove of deals he hasn’t personally brokered.

  6. Richard

    God, talk about one – eyed “journalism”.
    Iran a “nuclear terrorist”?, “interfering in Yemen”?
    Is this in Crikey just to show us that even Crikey journalists can still be duplicitous and disingenuous? Cos that is what it says to me.

    1. Will

      You reckon Iran’s some sort of innocent? Hey! I’ve got a bridge you might want to buy.

      1. Dion Giles

        Try the category (1) not a nuclear terrorist AND (2) not some sort of innocent. Maybe the author had that huge category in mind.

        1. Will

          That’d be a category error. The author never asserted that Iran was a nuclear terrorist. (He quoted Netanyahu as saying that.) I took that as too ‘obvious’ to even bother correcting Richard on.

  7. Dion Giles

    The worst aspect of the deal is its lopsidedness in restricting Iran’s military capacity to defend itself without also restricting racist Israel’s capacity to attack it.

  8. lykurgus

    I can’t be the only one who noticed that old PussGrab speaks almost entirely in soundbites from his favourite TV shows – such as Channel 4s “The Fake News Show”, and HBOs “The Wire” (‘Fire and fury’ appear in the opening music), and ABCs “Shark Tank” (‘Worst deal ever’ was Toygaroo – literally, toy rental). And possibly Half Life 2 (“Little Rocket Man” achievement, known since 2008).
    What? How can he NOT be that snotty little turd whose arse you whip in Deathmatch every night (when he’s not screaming at the telly)?
    But seriously, you’ll never cope unless you embrace just how much less to him there really is – the prospect that he’s mentally disabled might be terrifying, but is it unlikely?

  9. James O'Neill

    “it has barely improved Iran’s behaviour in other areas — its role as a destablising factor in regional conflicts (in Yemen, Syria and Iraq in particular), ” I agree with Richard’s comment. This is poor journalism that is no more than shilling for the neocon view, as exemplified in using the Atlantic as a source for Iranian misinformation. Saudi Arabia is the main destabiliser in Yemen, ably assisted by the UK and US arms suppliers. In Iraq and Syria, Iran is acting at the request of the governments of those two countries, unlike Australia and the US which through their support of ISIS (propaganda notwithstanding) are the true destabilisers. Have you forgotten who invaded Iraq and the false pretexts it was done under? For a more balanced appraisal I suggest that you read Alastair Crooke “Trump’s Scary Nuclear doctrine” and Paul Pillar’s Trump’s Mendacious Speech on Iran” both in http://www.consortiumnews.com 12 and 13 October 2017 respectively, and Donald Trump Kowtows to Israel on Iran http://www.turcopolier.typepad.com 13 October 2017.
    I am not alone in finding Crikey’s foreign affairs coverage to be in the strictly amateur class.

    1. Will

      Charlie’s work here is ‘Amateur class?’ Why, because his reporting doesn’t subscribe to your utterly juvenile view that Western imperialism is the root of all evil, and therefore its rivals (Iran, Russia, etc) should be uncritically hailed as responsible world actors? Not even Pillar, Crooke, Parry, etc. subscribe to such tendentious infantilism. The West’s rivals might not be up to quite as much mischief as the US, but they’re sure as hell up to hell of a lot of it (as ex-intelligence agents Pillar and Crooke very well know). Iran’s absolutely got it’s own imperial ambitions in the region (just as do Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Israel-US alliance), and its pursuit of those ambitions is unquestionably contributing to instability and conflict the region. Not mentioning that though, as you require (or not doing so without sheeting ultimate – and therefore total – responsibility back to the US), wouldn’t be ‘a more balanced appraisal’: it’d be patent advocacy in place of responsible journalism. The only thing amateur class I see here is the disrespectfulness of your comment here. So let me say what others won’t: Pull your head in, James.

      1. James O'Neill

        Will, you will not find any claim in what I wrote here or elsewhere that “western imperialism is the root of all evil”. Neither did I claim that Iran is free from imperfections. My objection is to those who write on topics about which they clearly know little, and either consciously or otherwise omit relevant material. In the present case it is absurd to discuss the Middle East without acknowledging the disruptive history of the US, Israel or Saudi Arabia. The intervention of Russia and Iran (at Syria’s invitation) rescued that country from a fate a loss worse than Assad. You may disagree and are free to do so, but you might do so without personal abuse, hiding behind a nom de plume.

        1. Will

          Look back at your own choice of words – ‘poor’ journalism; ‘shilling’ for neoconservatism; using… ‘misinformation’; strictly ‘amateur’ class – that’s abuse right there. Don’t dish it if you can’t cop it. (And the nom de plume is of no consequence to you.)

  10. Will

    Call me crazy, but I reckon Iran would be smart to agree to a renegotiation of the treaty. Trump’s motives aren’t neocon/Israeli (i.e. pro-regime change in Iran), he just wants respect (for the US, and for himself). Iran could feed that ego with some modest treaty concessions and drive a real wedge between him and the neocon/Israeli warmongers.

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