President Donald Trump announced April 8 that the US will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 pact under which the US was to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran agreeing not to develop nuclear weapons. The White House statement says the US will re-imposes all sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including those instated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, and the Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act of 2012. The sanctions are expected to go into effect in no later than 180 days.
The effect of the United States leaving the JCPOA has been the subject of speculation since Trump said during his presidential campaign that he would withdraw from the deal. Upon announcing the withrawal, Trump said, "it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement." He has also called the deal, "defective at its core."
There is opposition to the US leaving the deal. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said, "Iis a grave mistake to walk away from this deal without a plan for ensuring that Iran does not restart its nuclear weapon program, without a strategy for countering Iran's dangerous non-nuclear activities, and without our allies and partners."
From Jurist, May 8. Used with permission.
Silver linings in Iran nuclear deal collapse?
While this does seem to be a very dangerous development (coming in the wake of Israeli air-strikes on Iranian targets in Syria) we confess we were initially uncertain as to the wisdom of the nuclear deal. We noted that among opponents of the deal were supporters of the Syrian Revolution, who feared that the lifting of sanctions would give Iran a freer hand to pursue its war in Syria. We were ultimately swayed by the stance of Iran's progressive dissidents in support of the deal. But suspension of the deal may still have a restraining effect on Iran's Syria adventurism. Whether it will be enough to avert disaster is another question.
Another silver lining is that at least now we are likely to hear less Orwellian talk about Donald Trump getting the fucking Nobel Peace Prize…
Israel bombs Syria —again
Damascus said May 8 that Israel carried out an attack on a military base south of Damascus, which was used by Iranian forces. According to reports, Israeli fighter jets entered Syrian airspace and struck Iranian missiles aimed at Israel. The Israeli military said it identified what it said was unusual movements of Iranian forces in Syria, and it believed those forces were preparing for an imminent retaliation against Israel. (Haaretz)
In preparation for possible retaliation, the Israel Defense Forces reinforced its aerial defense systems in the north and deployed additional Iron Dome batteries. (Haaretz)
Israel bombs Syria —again
Israel said May 10 its fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian military targets inside of Syria overnight in response to rockets attacks by Iranian forces on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Israeli military said its air-strikes focused on intelligence sites, weapons storage and logistics centers, and that the jets also destroyed several Syrian air defense systems. It also warned it would "not allow the Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria" and said Syria’s government will be held accountable for "everything happening in its territory." Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a security conference Israel struck "almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria." He added, "I hope that we ended this chapter and that everyone understood." (VOA)