DEBATE: Can the Iran deal survive if Donald Trump pulls the US out?

Sanam Vakil and David Waywell
US-VOTE-IRAN-POLITICS
Iran’s conservative clerics always claimed that America could not be trusted (Source: Getty)

Can the Iran deal survive if Donald Trump pulls the US out?

Sanam Vakil, associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, says YES.

The Iran deal can survive President Trump’s potential non-certification this week if – and only if – the remaining signatories of the agreement and especially the European partners take a strong stand to protect the agreement. The US Congress will also have a pivotal role in deciding whether to re-impose nuclear sanctions on Iran or preserve the deal.

At this moment, it looks like Trump might effectively pass responsibility on to his partners and allies.

Tehran is working hard to lobby support from Europe and the Rouhani administration has strongly affirmed that if Europe stands by the agreement, so too will Iran.

This ongoing uncertainty however has weakened President Rouhani’s domestic mandate. Rouhani who campaigned on continuing economic engagement and foreign investment in Iran is counting on the flow of international investment in Iran to boost the Iranian economy and to generate employment. Should the deal fail or gradually begin to unravel, so too will Rouhani’s ability to impact political change.

Read more: Trump's turning his back on the Iran deal: This is what you need to know

David Waywell, author and political commentator, says NO.

Make no mistake: irrespective of the other names on the paper, the Iran Deal is the deal struck between American and Iran.

It was also well-timed. Overlook the revolutionaries and remember that modern Iran is western-looking, with a youth who have an almost European identity. Unspoken in President Obama’s settlement with Iran was a chance to support the next generation who don’t subscribe to the ayatollahs’ vision of a religious state. It was always something more than a deal about nuclear weapons – it could have been foundational to encouraging Iran step away from the margins, helping, in the process, to reshape the Middle East.

America stepping back now hands the initiative to the more radical elements inside the Iranian regime, who always doubted America’s commitment. It also, incidentally, helps Russia, which will be sure to exploit this rupture.

This proves what Iran’s conservative clerics always claimed: that America could not be trusted. That broken trust will be hard to rebuild.

Read more: Trump tells man in charge of North Korea talks they are a "waste of time"

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles