Bloomfield says U.S. should not create ‘new foreign policy headaches’

Iran could resume enrichment with no monitoring or sanctions if JCPOA nixed: Stimson Center chief 

April 7, 2018 - 20:0

TEHRAN – Writing an article in the Foreign Policy magazine on Friday, Lincoln P. Bloomfield put forward a strategy for the U.S. government to counter what he calls Iranian threats without withdrawing from the nuclear accord.

“The United States has urgent need of an approach that addresses the deal’s shortcomings without creating new foreign policy headaches,” Bloomfield, the chairman of the non-partisan Stimson Center, wrote.

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), went into force in January 2016. According to the deal, Iran put limits on its nuclear work in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.  

U.S. President Donald Trump must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran's compliance with the JCPOA. Trump has made clear that he would not do so again on May 12 unless Congress and the parties to the accord implement stronger measures.

Warning of the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, Bloomfield who held policy positions in the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the White House under five Republican administrations, named four adverse effects of such act. 

“First, Washington would face recriminations from European allies, who helped negotiate the deal and now have major commercial contracts pending with Iran. Second, Iran could resume enrichment activities, this time with no UN prohibitions or sanctions. Third, a regional nuclear arms race could break out, with Iran’s Arab neighbors seeking to negate its nuclear advantage. And fourth, the president’s executive authority to negotiate international agreements could suffer, as other governments might insist on a Senate-confirmed treaty to insulate any deals reached with Trump from being undone by a successor.” 

In his article titled “How Congress Can Help Trump Outmaneuver Iran”, Bloomfield said, “There is a better way,” suggesting, “Congress could amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, removing the requirement for periodic presidential certification.”

“Instead, the administration should regularly report to Congress on any sites where it suspects Iran of conducting unauthorized nuclear-related activity and, in coordination with allies, insist that the IAEA inspect them quickly, as a condition of maintaining the waiver on nuclear sanctions. Newly named National Security Advisor John Bolton is eminently qualified to oversee an intensified intelligence collection and nuclear inspections program.”

Highlighting the necessity of a U.S. policy to unify its allies against Iran, Bloomfield concluded that “by relieving Trump of the requirement to keep waiving sanctions, Congress could avert a crisis and enable a more comprehensive response” to what he called “Tehran’s malign activities, nuclear and non-nuclear.”


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