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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Yes to kisses, No to Iran nuclear deal

Por MRod

In a press conference during the visit of his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, Trump referred to the agreement of Iran: "We have spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East and we have not obtained anything. And this is going to change. The agreement with Iran, for example, is a bad agreement. We'll see what happens from here to May 12”.

We all know that Donald Trump has set May 12 as the deadline. If by then, Europe has not hardened its position and accepted to impose new limits on Tehran, the nuclear agreement will be blown up. It is to be expected that the break would have ugly consequences. Not only would it shatter a pact gestated with immense effort, but it would push the Middle East further down the nuclear path. It would be a triumph of Trump's isolationism and the epilogue to one of the most celebrated triumphs of Obama's multilateral diplomacy.

Sealed in 2015 in Vienna, the text deactivates the Iranian atomic program for 10 years in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Endorsed by other five powers (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China), its signature showed the world that two staunch enemies, after 40 years of pulse, could sit down, talk and reach agreements. It is fair to add that although it assured a decade of nuclear peace, not everyone saw it with good eyes. From the beginning, Israel considered that it was a trap which did not put a real end to the development of the nuclear weapon, but only delayed it in pursuit of an economic recovery.

The Israeli argument was metabolized by Trump. In the campaign, while demonizing Obama's legacy, he called the agreement "the worst in the world." And as soon as he entered the White House he tried to break it. His closest advisers tried in vain to stop him. In a maneuver designed by the then Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, they offered Trump to keep alive the main body of the pact while focusing the efforts on imposing new restrictions. These limitations would affect the extinction clause, the ballistic program and the "destabilization capacity of Iran in the Middle East" about Hezbollah and other groups financed by Tehran.

Trump, with obvious displeasure, initially accepted this approach. But he has now put expiration date and has doubled the attacks. "Everyone knows my position, it's a horrible agreement," he told Macron. In the face of US pressure, Europe has joined the defense of the pact. More than 500 British, German and French deputies have asked US parliamentarians to demand that the president keep it alive.

In this fragmented horizon, it is Macron who has launched himself to save the pact. Relying on his privileged relationship with the US president and strengthened by the recent military intervention in Syria, he has shown his hope of convincing him.

"For the president of the USA it is a bad agreement; What I'm saying is that it's not enough but staying without anything would not be better. And the nuclear issue is not the only problem”, expressed the French leader. Trump did not seem impressed by the offer. Although he was enormously effusive with Macron, whom he came to kiss on the cheek, the US president did not abandon his natural belligerence. “A kiss may ruin a human life” is phrase attributed to Oscar Wilde. Macron may better think of it.