By Javad Heirannia

U.S. will not able to impose its will 100% on Iran: ex-White House official

November 6, 2018

TEHRAN – Professor Frank N. von Hippel, former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology says that it was a terrible mistake for the Trump Administration to take the United States out of the JCPOA.

“The U.S. has lost credibility with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the EU,” Frank N. von Hippel tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.
He adds that I don’t think that the U.S. will be able to impose its will 100% on Iran and some countries will circumvent the sanctions.  
Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: As announced before, U.S. returned all nuclear sanctions against Iran. Do you think that this sanctions is according to U.S. national interest in long term?

A: It was a terrible mistake for the Trump Administration to take the United States out of the JCPOA.  The U.S. has lost credibility with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the EU and, if Iran reacts by ending its own compliance with the JCPOA, we might be on a path to war.  The United States does not need another unnecessary and costly war.

Q: U.S. exempt 8 countries temporary from importing of Iran’s oil. Do you think these countries can replace another recourses instead of oil of Iran?

A: I suppose that these other countries could find other sources of oil but it is also possible that some of them will circumvent U.S. sanctions and continue to buy Iranian oil.

Q: The Head of the U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin has announced that Washington wants the world-wide payment network to cut off its services to the entities that were affected by Iran sanctions and warned that otherwise SWIFT might be sanctioned as well. Can U.S. do it?

A: It is hard to believe that the U.S. can do it but that is beyond my expertise.

Q: If Iran cannot export oil and cannot work by SWIFT, what means JCPOA for it? I mean if U.S. can impose their will on these two key issues for Iran, is it rational for Iran stay in JCPOA? What is the EU and Russia and China in this regard?

A: I don’t think that the U.S. will be able to impose its will 100%.  Some countries will circumvent the sanctions.  The questions are, how great a fractional loss of oil exports Iran will suffer and how much the price of oil will rise, which would partially offset Iran’s losses?

In any case, I would hope that Iran would stay within the JCPOA.  There is a saying that “two wrongs do not make a right.”  The constraints that Iran agreed to in the JCPOA do not harm Iran and they could be the first step toward preventing a nuclear arms race with Saudi Arabia and perhaps other countries in the Middle East and possibly U.S. military attacks on Iran, which I believe that the current leaderships in both Israel and Saudi Arabia would like to provoke.

I would like to see as an alternative to such a scenario an end to national enrichment by all countries and the adoption of multinational control of enrichment as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom did for themselves when they established a joint enrichment company, URENCO.  I would like to point out that the United States had a national enrichment company but it went bankrupt and now the only enrichment plant in the United States is one that was built by and is owned by URENCO.  This result was not achieved deliberately but I believe that it is good for the nonproliferation regime and does no harm to the U.S.
 

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