JCPOA to Remain ‘Viable’ Even If US Withdraws: SIPRI Chief
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would remain a “viable” agreement even if the US left it.
“…I think the other parties are likely to stand by the JCPOA, which will, therefore, remain a viable agreement,” Dan Smith told Tasnim.
Dan Smith has a long record of research and publication on a wide range of conflict and peace issues such as nationalism, identity politics, armed conflicts, ethics of intervention, gender aspects of conflict and peace building. In recent years, his work has broadened to encompass other contemporary issues such as the relationship between climate change and insecurity, peace and security issues in the Middle East and global conflict trends. Smith has served four years in the UN Peacebuilding Fund Advisory group, two of which (2010–2011) were as Chair. He has lived most of his adult life in the UK with a 10-year spell in Norway. He has traveled professionally to more than 60 countries.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: As you know, US President Donald Trump's team faces an Oct. 15 deadline to tell Congress whether it will continue to certify that Iran is complying with the deal. If Trump refuses to certify, Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to re-impose US sanctions on Iran. What is your prediction?
Smith: It is clear from US news media reports that there has been a great deal of internal debate in the top levels of the US administration about this. It remains difficult to know what will come out in the end. I suspect it may involve a compromise between different views and, likewise, any action that the US Congress takes may also involve a compromise between different preferences.
Tasnim: Do you believe that the JCPOA will stand without the US? Will other parties to the agreement remain committed to their obligations under the deal following a potential US withdrawal?
Smith: Yes, I think the other parties are likely to stand by the JCPOA, which will, therefore, remain a viable agreement.
Tasnim: How would this withdrawal affect global developments, particularly in the Middle East?
Smith: The JCPOA is an element in the political controversies in the region and in the contending views of the different powers. Whichever position President Trump takes, there will be criticism. In the US, in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, many will criticize him if he says Iran is not complying with the agreement. They will argue he is rejecting an agreement that the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the responsible international monitor of implementation, says is being properly fulfilled. If he says Iran is still complying, he will be criticized by vocal opponents of the agreement both in the US and in the Middle East. His reputation will suffer with one group or the other unless he can find a way to compromise between the two main options.
In addition to the regional controversies, it is important to think about the case of North Korea. I agree with those who are warning that if the US abandons the JCPOA, it may be more difficult to arrive at a future agreement with the North Korean government about its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has affirmed in its most recent report that Iran is fulfilling the terms of the JCPOA. When agreements are arrived at, they should be respected and implemented by all parties. In terms of Iran’s compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, the evidence says there is no case for abandoning the agreement. This is the position that the other parties to the agreement have taken.