If President Donald Trump follows through on his intent to either fix the weaknesses in the nuclear deal or withdraw from the accord, it would mean that “Mr. Trump will be better positioned to make it clear to Pyongyang that he means business,” two sanctions experts wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.
Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at FDD, who was the architect of the most severe sanctions imposed on Iran, wrote that Trump, in order to regain leverage with Iran is demanding that the deal be fixed to “eliminate the deal’s sunset provisions, constrain Iran’s nuclear-capable missile program, and demand intrusive inspections of Iranian military sites.” Without those changes negotiated by May 12, Trump has said that he would no longer waive sanctions on Iran, causing the toughest sanctions to be re-imposed, effectively marking the United States’s withdrawal from the deal.
Dubowitz and Goldberg dismiss critics who claim that by demanding changes or withdrawing from the Iran deal, the U.S. would demonstrate that it is not trustworthy and make North Korea balk at any deals with Trump. To the contrary, they argued, by settling for phony fixes to the Iran deal, such as those proposed by the Europeans, Trump would expose the U.S. as a “paper tiger,” and encourage North Korea to demand the same terms as Iran, which would give them a pathway to an industrial-strength uranium enrichment program.
However, “if North Korea sees that Iran is held to tough nuclear and missile standards, backed by the credible threat of crippling sanctions, Mr. Trump will be better positioned to make it clear to Pyongyang that he means business,” Dubowitz and Goldberg wrote. Though taking a tough line against Iran may not lead to an effective deal with North Korea, it will at least mean that Trump would have “stopped Iran from following North Korea’s path to nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.”
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