In President Donald Trump’s view, the Iranian nuclear deal, which Barack Obama pushed for and agreed to, is fatally flawed. In the eyes of Obama and much of the rest of the world, it was the best deal to be gotten with a regime that seems to specialize in “rogue.” A primer on the deal and what happened as well as how it could affect Iranian – American culture is in order so as to understand what has happened and where it might be headed.
Prevention vs. Delay
The entire debate is in essence, one of prevention of Iran from attaining a nuclear weapons arsenal and delaying that inevitability. Depending on which option you think most realistic forms the basis for support for one approach or the other. Prevention calls for continued pressure and sanctions to break Iran’s will. Delay uses a combination of incentives and the threat of penalties to goad Iran into a slow-walk of its nuclear program.
The Lack of Trust
The Iranian – American relationship is saturated with legitimate concerns about each party’s behavior, beginning decades ago, which has led to a profound distrust on both sides. Among conservatives in the USA, including Trump, that trust is almost nonexistent. As such, any “deal” that did not call for unilateral disarmament or the imposition of draconian sanctions was destined to fail. From that perspective, Obama gave up too much for not enough with an entity that deserves no good faith assumptions or measures.
It should be noted that neither American party, Trump or Obama, trusts the current regime. The difference in opinion is that Obama’s position was that a carrot would work best, Trump’s a stick. Those two positions are not able to be enjoined in agreement, both in the American political culture as well as throughout Iranian – American society. Thus, Obama signed the deal with reluctance, Trump has scrapped it with zeal.
The Path Forward
Where this all leads is anyone’s guess. Iran has said it will adhere to the agreement with the other signers (England, France, German, China, and Russia.) America no longer recognizes the agreement, but if the other nations do, America does not have too many options but for sanctions. Those sanctions, if applied to anyone that does business with Iran and those nations, could be very problematic.
As with most things in a politically polarized nation, what this all means to Iranian – American relations or Iranian – American culture for that matter, remains to be seen. How Iran reacts, what the other nations in the agreement do and how President Trump moves forward are fluid dynamics that could change at any moment. Monitor the Organization of Iranian-American Communities to stay in touch with all things Iranian – American.