Jack Straw: U.S. pullout from nuclear deal would be ‘dangerous’ and ‘unjustified’

October 7, 2017 - 19:56

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that a U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, would be “dangerous” and “unjustified”.

“My message to him [U.S. President Donald Trump] is that it would be dangerous and unjustified to withdraw from JCPOA,” he told IRNA in an interview published on Saturday.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: How important is JCPOA?

A: I believe that the deal was extremely important, it took 12 years of negotiation from the time when we originally began the negotiations which was in the summer of 2003 through to the conclusion in summer of 2015. 

It was a major achievement for the peace of the world and also something for which I have long striven and argued to ensure that Iran could take its rightful place as one of the major nations of the world. If president Trump does go ahead to de-certify JCPOA it would be a reckless act.

Q: What would be the implications of U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA?

A: It is very uncertain, there is no justification for withdrawal because all the independent evidences indicate that Iran has kept its side of the deal. And I have to say that that is not withstanding the fact that some of the obligations which are on the west such as opening up market and banking have not been delivered which is a frustration for many people and businesses in the UK and across Europe. You asked what will happen if Trump denounce the deal. There will be great uncertainty for sure internationally and unnecessary international dispute about it. What its effect is going to be I don’t think anybody knows, but this is a formal agreement between Iran and the six powers who signed it. It was endorsed explicitly by the (UN) Security Council so it has become part of the international law and the U.S. is the only country contemplating withdrawal from the deal. What we understand is that Trump is going to refuse to certify that Iran is complying which is against evidence and then it will go to congress but no one is clear about what is then going to happen. Interestingly I saw from a report in Washington post that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the nuclear was quite something that the president should consider staying with. So I think the overall effect of president Trump intervention will be to increase uncertainty in the international situation and make it more difficult to sensible cooperation between Iran and the west over things which we agree; for example, clearing out ISIS from Syria and Iraq and also preserving stopping the formation of an independent Kurdistan. The other thing it will do is that it will undermine US international reputation. 

Q: What would be Europe and UK’s reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from JCPOA?

A: I am certain that China and Russia would continue with the deal. I am 99 percent certain that France and Germany will and I am 98 percent certain that UK government will as well. Theresa May and the foreign secretary Boris Johnson made that clear.

Q: U.S. is hinting that they want to renegotiate JCPOA, is this a valid request?

A: If there are things they want to renegotiate then they need to discuss this with the other 5 parties on one side and with Iran on the other side; so unilateral denouncing of the agreement is unlikely to produce a climate for discussions about the deal. 

What I have not seen is any details from the Americans about which part of it they like to renegotiate.

Q: What would be the effect of U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA over international negotiations?

A: It is going to make it more difficult. It would be depressing move by the president Trump to denounce JCPOA as well as being against the interest of the international community; I also think it is against their own interest and I am not one of his natural supporters. 

Q: Is there a situation where Iran, Europe alongside Russia and China could continue with the deal?

A: Yes, I think legally the deal will continue any way. The deal will stay in being and the American government accept that it would carry on in operation until there will be a decision of the U.S. congress but its not clear how long that will take or what effect it would have.

Q: In your remarks you said that you are 98 percent certain that UK government will stick with JCPOA, should Trump withdraw from it, what does that 2 percent correspond to?

A: Yes, I did. I am sure there will be strong representation made by Trump administration to the UK government and its possible that they may decide to accept them; but there is also the fact that in the British house of commons there is a majority in favor for this deal so the government will find it extremely difficult to overturn the deal.

Q: What would be your message to Donald Trump?

A: My message to him is that it would be a dangerous and unjustified to withdraw from JCPOA.

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