‘Trump’s policies are all electoral politics’

JCPOA to continue to be in trouble if Trump re-elected: professor

June 22, 2020 - 16:15

TEHRAN — A professor of international affairs believes if Donald Trump is re-elected president, the JCPOA, commonly known as the Iran nuclear agreement, will continue to be in trouble.

In an interview with ILNA published on Monday, Dane Rowlands said, “Unfortunately, the JCPOA’s future probably rests in the hands of the U.S. electorate in November. If President Trump is re-elected, the JCPOA will continue to be in trouble and, for all intents and purposes, will be ineffective from the perspectives of all parties.”

“If President Trump loses the election, presumably to Biden, then there would likely be a good chance that the JCPOA would be rejuvenated,” he said.

Rowlands, a former director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, said he does not believe Trump has any strong views or enmity toward Iran or Iranians.

“His policies are all electoral politics,” he opined. “President Trump is all about disruption, opposing anything that President Obama did, and rejecting years of U.S. policy positions. There is no strategy here, and there is no principle, it is simply electoral politics for President Trump, and a desire to appear to be against the American political establishment.”

Trump unilaterally quit the nuclear deal in May 2018 and introduced the harshest ever sanctions in history on Iran as part of his administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran.

Two years after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration is looking to extend a UN ban on conventional arms sales to and from Iran, a strategy designed to kill the deal for good. 

Professor Dane Rowlands says Trump’s administration has “no strategy” and “no principle”.

Under the UN Security Council’s 2231 resolution, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal, the arms embargo expires in October.

On the Trump administration’s plan to push for the extension of the arms embargo, Rowlands said the U.S. will use any policy or instrument it can to harm Iran now, including arms embargoes, economic embargoes, and other sanctions.

“It will do so regardless of any international agreement or framework within which such activities could be either encouraged or discouraged,” he remarked.

He concluded that the U.S. will try to persuade or coerce others to join it in its policies targeting Iran. “At the same time, aside from the UN sanctions, there is nothing legally stopping other countries from assisting Iran. There is only U.S. coercive power and influence.”

Asked to estimate Trump’s chances of re-election, the professor said it could still go either way and will depend a lot on intervening events, especially the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“President Trump has a highly committed core of voters and a lot of money; it is unusual for a sitting President to lose a re-election bid,” he pointed out. 

“At the same time, and unusually, the level of vehement opposition, and indeed disgust, with this President is exceptionally high,” he said, adding, “The election will be incredibly bitter and divisive, but the outcome is highly uncertain.” 

By contrast, he continued, President Obama’s re-election for his second term was essentially a foregone conclusion, and it was not really in doubt from very early on.


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