Saturday, 25 March, 2017

Will Netanyahu can persuade Trump to undo Iran deal?

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By Vahid Jafarian, Editorial Board Member

Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has began his serious efforts to persuade US president Donald Trump to undo Iran nuclear deal, but it is not clear whether these efforts will bear fruit, according to analysts.

Netanyahu held a telephone conversation with U.S. president Sunday for the first time since Trump’s inauguration.

The Netanyahu’s office announced that two leader spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the fate of the nuclear agreement with Iran, among other issues.

“There are many issues between us including the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the situation in Syria and the Iranian threat,” Netanyahu’s office said in a transcript of a Netanyahu’s statement at an Israeli cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu has been a harsh critic of the nuclear deal, which provides for the monitoring of Iranian nuclear development, in return for a loosening of longstanding sanctions related to the program.

‘The supreme goal of the state of Israel continues to be stopping the Iranian threat and stopping the threat from the bad nuclear deal signed with Iran,’ he said, according to CNN.

In December 2016, Netanyahu said he would discuss with Donald Trump the West’s “bad” nuclear deal with Iran after the U.S. president-elect enters the White House.

“Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That has not changed and will not change. As far as President-elect Trump, I look forward to speaking to him about what to do about this bad deal,” Netanyahu told.

Before the nuclear agreement, Netanyahu, a conservative, strained relations with the White House by addressing the U.S. Congress in 2015 and cautioning against agreeing to the pact.

Trump appears to share those concerns. ‘I’m not happy with the Iran deal, I think it’s one of the worst deals ever made,’ he said in a January 16 interview. I think it’s one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen, one of the dumbest.’

But he declined to say whether he intended to ‘renegotiate’ the deal, as he asserted regularly during the presidential campaign.

Diplomatic ties between the US and Iran had only begun to thaw in the final years of the Obama administration, but the agreement’s future has been placed in doubt since Trump’s electoral victory.

However, some analysts says that although Trump described the deal with Iran as the worst-ever in history, he may find it rather hard to sever the deal.

According to analysts, neither Russia, nor China, nor the three European countries concerned will agree to abrogating the agreement without sufficient reasons.

“There may be some uncertainty… Trump, who had said it is a bad deal, may be persuaded not to junk it. He may be persuaded by the economic opportunities it may offer… after all he is a businessman,” Robert F. Worth, The New York Times’ former Beirut bureau chief, told IANS on the sidelines of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.

Moreover, there has been strong support for the deal and over three dozen top American scientists, including Nobel laureates, veteran nuclear weapon scientists, former White House science advisers and head of the world’s largest general society of scientists, wrote to the new President last week, urging him to “preserve this critical US strategic asset”.

Reuters contributed to this report

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