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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Obama calls Trump's decision on Iran "a serious mistake"

Por Nina

Former US President Barack Obama, promoter of the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, harshly rejected Tuesday the decision of his successor in the White House, Donald Trump, to withdraw from that multilateral framework and said that, with this, opens the door to "an arms race" that would endanger the United States and its allies, besides that it can leave to the Administration before a harmful election: "An Iran with nuclear armament or another war in the Middle East". "The decision to leave the JCPOA without any violation of it by Iran is a serious error," the former president said in his statement.

The pact consisted, in general terms, in the lifting of sanctions against the regime for its nuclear program in exchange for freezing it. With the momentum of Obama, it was signed in July 2015 in Vienna and endorsed by Iran, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China. In his speech on Tuesday, as well as in other previous statements, Trump has maintained that Tehran did not comply. In his opinion (and that of Israel), the pact gave the country time to recover economically - thanks to the brake on fines - in order to continue its atomic race.

Since leaving office in January 2017, Obama has stayed out of the political debate, although he has criticized the efforts of his Republican successor to undo some of his main political achievements. Prior to this agreement, he had condemned Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and to end a program that protects the deportation of dreamers, immigrants who illegally entered the US when they were children. He also spoke out against Trump's efforts to unravel Obamacare's health care program.

This Tuesday the tenant of the White House announced that the US it abandoned the Tehran-Sextet nuclear pact (USA, UK, France, Russia and China, plus Germany) and, as a result, the sanctions against Iran eliminated after the signing of the agreement, officially named Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working. That is why the decision announced today (Tuesday) is so wrong," Obama said in an extensive official note, stressing that Trump's decision will seriously affect Washington when it comes to presenting itself as a reliable interlocutor. According to the former president, both the US European allies as the independent experts, and even the current US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, have emphasized that the nuclear treaty is effective.

Obama stressed in his statement that the ban on a nuclear weapon is "permanent" in the pact and that it does not depend on "trust", but on the largest plan of inspections and more extensive investigations negotiated so far in an arms control agreement. The former Democratic president also warns of the situation in which it leaves to the United States the fact that a new government dissociates itself from the pact closed by the previous Executive with several countries on a matter so critical for security. "The constant breach of the agreements of which our country is a part implies the risk of eroding the credibility of the US and puts us at odds with the main powers of the world," he says.

For his part, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, architect of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, considered that Washington's abandonment of the agreement could lead to a new conflict. "Withdrawing (from the JCPOA) and trying to focus on those other things totally complicates the ability to achieve and I think it could really lead to a new conflict," Kerry said in an interview with CNN. At the same time, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, a key negotiator in the talks on Iran's nuclear deal, said President Trump's decision is a "major strategic error that not only harms the ability of the United States to prevent Iran acquires the material for a nuclear weapon.' He stressed that the position assumed by Trump also "affects our ability to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons."

In addition to withdrawing from the agreement with Iran, Trump announced today that he will re-impose the sanctions lifted under the pact, considering that there is "evidence" that Tehran lied when it said its atomic program was for peaceful purposes. The Treasury Department indicated that these sanctions will be re-imposed on "two periods of 90 days and 180 days," after which they will be applied "with full effect" as a result of Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran. President Trump reproaches the treaty for having failed in its goal of protecting Washington and its allies from the "madness" of an Iranian nuclear bomb, as well as leaving out other key objectives for their interests.

Additionally, Trump has stated that it has "definitive proof" and "conclusive evidence" from the Israeli Intelligence that Iran is actively seeking nuclear weapons. For its part, Tehran has repeatedly rejected accusations of targeting the development of nuclear weapons.