President Trump announced today that he will not waive sanctions on Iran ahead of a May 12 deadline to waive sanctions that were lifted under the Iran nuclear agreement. Failing to waive sanctions on or before May 12 will amount to a material breach of the Iran nuclear agreement on two levels, first by re-imposing sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the agreement, and second, by interfering with Iran’s full realization of sanctions relief.
In response to Trump’s announcement, Cole Harrison, Executive Director of Massachusetts Peace Action, commented, “President Trump’s failure to live up to U.S. commitments sets a terrible basis for diplomacy and makes it risky to rely on the word of the U.S. This decision moves us closer to war with Iran and further destabilizes the Middle East. Why should we withdraw from an agreement that is clearly working and that makes the world safer?”
Since taking office, Trump has heard from countless national security and nuclear policy experts that the agreement is working and is in the best interests of the United States. The IAEA, the European Union, over 80 nuclear policy experts, the State Department, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have all said Iran is adhering to the terms of the agreement. But Trump’s close relationships with fierce opponents of the Iran agreement and advocates for war with Iran appear to be counteracting the experts. Trump’s new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported bombing Iran over negotiations. Trump’s new national security advisor John Bolton suggested regime change in Iran could be accomplished by the end of 2018. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday that Trump himself is “committed to regime change” in Iran.
Addressing the longer-term threat of war with Iran, Harrison urged Congress to reassert its war powers. “Although Trump can violate the Iran nuclear deal, he cannot launch a war against Iran without congressional approval. Only Congress can make war, and it is time for Congress to reassert its war powers and prevent a slide towards war with Iran.”
Cambridge photojournalist Randy Goodman will present a talk called “Iran Reflections: 1979 Hostage Crisis to 2015 Nuclear Agreement”, Thursday, May 10, 7pm at the First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden Street. The talk will discuss the changes in Iran since 1979, including the effects of the Iran nuclear deal on the citizens of the country. More info.