Given the mercurial nature of the US president, it was never about whether Washington would scrap the nuclear agreement with Iran but when and how. And he did a full 72 hours before he was scheduled to. It is hard to foresee anything good coming out of this move apart from the exacerbation of tensions and the drums of war beating not too far away. There was and is little support for the cancellation among most allies and foes alike with the EU distinctly unhappy over the decision. Israel, unlike most other countries, experienced another moment of effusive pride — the kind felt earlier when the US switched the location of its embassy to Jerusalem. Trump has shown time and again his readiness to act on Israel’s playbook in the Middle East and squeeze Iran on the country’s alleged transgression on the nuclear deal as well as its presence in the Syria conflict.
The scrapping of the pact will cause serious loss to the Iranian economy and bring its people back to the era of suffering and misery when Tehran was struggling under the strain of sanctions. Another fallout from the unravelling of the pact is the possibility of Iran immediately resuming work on its nuclear programme. For Tehran, however, all is not completely lost yet. The nexus it has carefully cultivated over the years with Russia and Syria has received a boost with the re-election of Vladimir Putin as president.
The torrent unleashed by Trump’s decision will take some time to subside. As the Iranians brace for another period of recession and the world awaits the next blow, Israel and the allied forces edge their way into the picture.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2018.
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