By Payman Yazdani

Trump’s approach toward JCPOA contrary to U.S. interest: Prof. Zonis

January 15, 2018

TEHRAN - Commenting on Trump’s recent approach toward the JCPOA, Marvin Zonis, Professor of international political economy says his approach is stupid and contrary to the U.S. national interest.

U.S. president Trump on Friday renewed Iran sanctions relief once again and at the same time warned that it was the last time that he renewed the Iran sanctions relief and asked the Europeans to work on changes to the JCPOA.

The issue was discussed with Marvin Zonis, Professor of international political economy and leadership in the University of Chicago.
Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: What is your general assessment of Trump’s latest approach toward the JCPOA?

A: It is as stupid and contrary to America’s national interest as his earlier approaches. I am confident he understands nothing about the agreement other than it was made by President Obama. That is enough for Trump to hate the agreement irrespective of its contents.

Q: What changes is Trump after for the agreement?

A: I believe he will demand changes that will be unacceptable to the P5+1 as well as to Iran, implicitly for the purpose of blowing up the deal.

Q: Considering the EU, Russia and China supports to the JCPOA and Iran’s opposition to any changes to it, how realistic are Trump’s requests? Will the EU and other signatories to the deal give up to his requests?

A: No, the other signatories will not agree to Trump’s request and of course he has no better alternative.

Q: Are European countries able to resist Trump’s requests?

A: Yes, U.S. relations with Europe are at an all-time low and Trump’s credibility with European allies is appropriately non-existent.

Q: How serious should his threat be taken? 

A: Since Iran does not have nuclear weapons and North Korea does, it is much safer for Trump to order air strikes against Iran. It certainly seems that he is eager to bomb someone — Iran may be his first choice.

Q: What will be the consequences of possible withdrawal of Trump from the JCPOA for U.S.? What do you think will be Iran’s possible reaction?

A: If I were the government of Iran, I would go back to building a bomb.

Q: What can Iran do to reduce the U.S. pressures?

A: The principle complaint about Iran by U.S. strategic thinkers is not its nuclear program which is under control through the nuclear deal. It is instead Iran’s foreign policy with Hezbollah, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Hamas. An Iranian withdrawal from Syria would be a major step in quieting that concern.
 

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