Opinions are divided over the US pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal

U.S. President Trump announced on Tuesday, May 8th that the United States would resume sanctions on Iran. The  Meanwhile, many European allies of the US are trying to salvage the deal. 

The Iran deal was signed on July 14th, 2015, by President Barack Obama. Pulling out of the deal was one of President Trump’s first campaign promises. He repeatedly lampooned it as a horrific agreement that would allow Iran to continue to develop an atomic bomb.  On Tuesday, the President signed a paper that would resume sanctions on Iran that were waived when the U.S. signed the deal. 

Now that the U.S. has pulled out, other parties to agreement are desperately trying to salvage it. Belgium has condemned the resumption of sanctions, as has France. German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks to keep the deal alive as well, warning that rejecting it damages world trust.  Many European companies who export to Iran could stand to lose billions in business if sanctions are resumed.

North Korea raised another issue with the deal. The U.S. wants a deal to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but the last nuclear deal the country signed was violated. This removes some of North Korea’s incentive to negotiate because they have no reason to believe the United States will keep the promises made in a nuclear deal.  

There are also questions about pulling out of the deal. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, has noted in Congressional testimony that there is no evidence Iran was violating the agreement. Hundreds of inspections confirmed this. However, many of the deal’s opponents point to the “Sunset clause” that would phase out parts of the agreement in five to ten years. This could allow the Iranians to begin building more weapons. Others also note that the Iran deal was never ratified by the Senate, it was only made by executive order. It can be argued that this violates the Constitution, which mandates two-thirds of Congress vote yes on a treaty before it goes into effect. 

The original Iran deal, signed on July 14th, 2015, was agreed to by the U.S., Britain, Russia, France, Germany, China, and Iran. It limited Iran to 5,000 of its 20,000 centrifuges, and required Iran to give up 98% of their uranium stockpile. The uranium that was left could not be enriched above 3.67%. To make a bomb, uranium must be enriched to 90%.