Iran deal wasn't an agreement between my administration & Tehran, says Obama
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal was accomplished between Tehran and major world powers, including the US, during his time. And when his successor Donald Trump decided to withdraw from it, former American president Barack Obama couldn't hide his disappointment, calling the decision "misguided" and a "serious mistake".
Penning his opinion on the episode on his personal Facebook page, Obama, the USA's first black president, said the US had negotiated the Iran deal to serve its security and also avert a potentially destructive war in the Middle East.
"The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working - that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The JCPOA is in America's interest - it has significantly rolled back Iran's nuclear program. And the JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish - its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when we are all rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes - with Iran - the very outcome that we are pursuing with the North Koreans," Obama wrote, pointing out the contradiction in Trump's policies vis-à-vis North Korea and Iran - two countries that have emerged as a serious threat to world peace because of their boundless nuclear ambitions.
Obama said walking out of the Iran deal means the US has turned back on its allies and warned that by flouting agreements to which the US is a party on a consistent basis, the current administration is only risking eroding Washington's credibility and puts it at odds with the world's big powers. Obama said this even while acknowledging that there would be "changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next".
The Trump administration has already pulled the US out of key international agreements like the Paris climate deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership and Unesco and also let its displeasure known over organisations like Nato and Nafta.
Defending the deal, Obama said the JCPOA was not a pact which was made between his administration and Iran.
" After years of building an international coalition that could impose crippling sanctions on Iran, we reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran. It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution," Obama said, taking a clear-cut dig at Trump over his quashing everything that his predecessor had accomplished during his stay in office between 2009 and 2016.
Obama also said that the deal succeeded in rolling back the Iranians' nuclear programme. He said the agreement "put a lid" on Iran's capacity to rush towards possessing a bomb. He said it was the JCPOA which saw Iran destroy the core of a reactor that could have produced weapons-grade plutonium and removed a majority of its centrifuges and put them under international monitoring besides getting rid of 97 per cent of its stockpiles of enriched uranium - required to build a bomb.
Obama also tore apart the allegation that Iran was giving little value to the trust that the West had put on over its nuclear programme.
"The JCPOA does not rely on trust - it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran's nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran's entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away," the former president added.
Obama also said that the Iran deal was never going to solve all problems that were related to Tehran. He said the world was always worried over Iran's "destabilising behaviour" and to counter that, it was necessary to first prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon and the JCPOA was serving that purpose well.
"Every aspect of Iranian behavior that is troubling is far more dangerous if their nuclear program is unconstrained. Our ability to confront Iran's destabilizing behavior - and to sustain a unity of purpose with our allies - is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it," Obama said, adding: "Because of these facts, I believe that the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake."