JCPOA to Stand without US: Brookings Senior Fellow
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior fellow with the Transatlantic Program of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) said the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world power, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would stand even without the US.
“I think that if Iran and the other 5+1 stick to the deal there is a good chance the US will refrain from taking measures that run counter to the deal's implementation. Therefore, my answer is a qualified yes,” Riccardo Alcaro told the Tasnim News Agency.
Riccardo Alcaro was a nonresident fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe. He is an expert in transatlantic political and security relations with a focus on US-European cooperation in Europe’s neighboring regions, including the Middle East and North Africa, Iran and the Persian Gulf, the Sahel, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
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?
Alcaro: My prediction is that Congress will refrain from re-imposing sanctions. If it does, Iran will ask HR (High Representative) Mogherini to convene the Joint Commission and will argue that the US is in violation of the JCPOA. China and Russia will support Iran and the three Europeans will in all likelihood have to agree, as they have repeatedly said that, based on IAEA reports, Iran is in compliance. That would put the US in a very difficult spot with no advantages. (US) Secretaries of defense and state Mattis and Tillerson, as well as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Dunford, have all said that staying in the JCPOA is in America's interest. This said, there is no guarantee that Congress will not take that decision. The Republicans control both houses and you may never know. Even if they, as I expect, will not do anything the credibility if the US commitment to the JCPOA will be weakened, at least for some time, which creates an incentive for Iran to start preparing a plan B. Another possible implication is that Congress, in order not to appear weak on Iran while continuing to keep nuclear-related sanctions frozen, will adopt new sanctions on non-nuclear related issues. It is also possible that Trump will instruct the State and Treasury department to designate the military wing of the IRGC a terrorist organization, which will complicate matters further.
Tasnim: Do you believe that the JCPOA will stand without the US?
Alcaro: I think that if Iran and the other 5+1 stick to the deal there is a good chance the US will refrain from taking measures that run counter to the deal's implementation. Therefore, my answer is a qualified yes.
Tasnim: Will other parties to the agreement remain committed to their obligations under the deal following a potential US withdrawal?
Alcaro: Yes absolutely. Europe China and Russia will continue to support the deal no matter what
Tasnim: How would this withdrawal affect global developments, particularly in the Middle East region?
Alcaro: it would weaken nonproliferation efforts, including on North Korea, and raise tensions again between Iran and the US and its regional allies. You will have more conflict and instability in the Mideast and globally too. However, today my bet is that the JCPOA will continue to work.