The Iran Nuclear Deal was a great milestone in international cooperation with one single goal – Iran should not be able to develop nuclear weapons in for the foreseeable future. The deal required Iran to limit its stockpile of uranium, to levels determined to be insufficient to develop a nuclear weapon. It would be subject to the most thorough monitoring of its uranium enrichment. The monitoring would be done by an international group of experts (IAEA). In exchange, the US and its allies would lift the harsh sanctions leveled against Iran.
The Iran Nuclear Deal was agreed to by China, France, Germany, Russia, UK, US and the EU. The sanctions imposed not only created hardships for Iran but for our allies as well. John Kerry and other negotiators worked diligently to kept the coalition of our allies together, so the pressure would be on until a verifiable means of keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon was achieved. The Republicans, including Donald Trump, were constantly on the attack against the deal. Trump vowed to scrap this deal, reimpose sanctions and then renegotiate a new deal, which would fully satisfy the US interests. The problem of course, was the Iranians were in compliance with the deal and for us to unilaterally pull out would be a breach of international law. It had been approved by both the US Congress and the UN Security Council.
However, Trump made it clear that there had to be a new deal, and sanctions against Iran was the only way this was going to happen. The most important sanction was a refusal to buy any oil from Iran or do any business with Iran. Further, he anticipated other countries would do the same, and force Iran back to the negotiating table, for the “Trump Iranian Deal.” Israel and Saudi Arabia (and other Gulf coast countries) would simply like to a US invasion of Iran. No other signatory countries felt re-imposition of sanctions was necessary, because Iran was living up to its part of the deal. They refused to re-open the negotiations with the Trump administration because they were living up to their side of the bargain. They insisted that if the US continued in non-compliance with the JCPOA, they too were no longer bound to the agreement.
Today, July 1, 2019, Iran finally pushed back against the US. Re Wikipedia: “On 1 July 2019, Iran announced that it had breached the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. Shortly after the announcement the IAEA confirmed that Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile exceeded the deal’s limit.” We have no diplomatic recourse. We lost our place at the negotiating table when we violated the deal and re-imposed sanctions. The fear was that Iran was not a country to be trusted and they would develop secret uranium enrichment plants out of sight of inspectors. Just the opposite has happened. They have breached the agreement in full view of inspectors in retaliation for the US violation of the agreement and our pressuring of other countries to cease doing business with Iran, or we will level sanctions against them.
We have embarked on a horrible lose-lose strategy. This was not “denuclearization” because Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon. This was to keep them from doing so, even though many Iranian would like to be a part of the nuclear club. The deal was good not just for the US but for the rest of the world. If one believed that the future of Iran was hell bent on assisting terrorist organizations, then this deal was extremely important to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran. Trump has not had one meeting with Iran since he came to office. My only hope is that in 2020, with a new president, we can once again, lift the sanctions, and they will return to the deal. But honestly, if this escalates, all bets are off.
Wikipedia: JCPOA: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action