Trump’s first ME military action may target Iran, DEBKAfile, November 12, 2016Donald Trump’s ratings soar in Iranian media too
In more than one campaign speech, President elect Donald Trump declared that his number priority was “to dismantle the disastrous deal” with Iran, which he said was “the worst deal ever” He was referring to the 2015 accord negotiated with Iran by the 5P+1 (five Permanent Security Council members plus Germany), which the Obama administration presented as putting the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Trump vowed to use force if necessary to prevent Tehran from acquiring the bomb.
So does Tehran have more to fear from Donald Trump than from Barack Obama in the way of US military intervention? They can’t be sure that he will not set out to show the world – and especially the Iranians – that under his presidency, they can no longer “mess with America.”
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that the ayatollahs are concerned enough to seriously contemplate the following scenario.
The incoming president, after he takes office in the White House on Jan. 20, will act to raise America’s lame image in the Middle East by a surgical strike against an Iranian nuclear facility. One option projected is the blowing up of the Arak heavy water plant for plutonium production at the military complex city of Arak; another would be destroying an Iranian ballistic missile base.
Trump and the Republican-ruled Congress would certainly not tolerate Iranian breaches after America coughed up $150 billion in eased sanctions and released frozen assets.
A Trump administration would be able to marshal seven arguments to justify military action:
1. On Nov. 2, a week before the presidential election, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna reported Iran in violation of the nuclear deal by producing 130.1 tons of heavy water at the Arak plant, one ton more than allowed. In past cases, the Iranians quickly exported the excess amount. But with a new US president on the way, they may try to use it as a one-ton test of his resolve.
2. In another challenge, Iran is threatening to renege unless more economic benefits are forthcoming.
2. The nuclear restrictions imposed under the deal end in about seven years, when Iran can start going back to its weapons program.
3. Tehran never actually signed the 2014 nuclear deal in the first place. It has remained on paper on three pages as “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program” announced in Lausanne on July 14, 2015 by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhammed Javad Zarif.
Three days later, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented: “Our policy will not change with regard to the arrogant US government.”
4. The document was eventually endorsed by the UN Security Council. This obliged the IAEA to follow up it its presumed commitments by inspections on the ground to confirm Iran’s compliance. However, because much of its content was kept under wraps, American and Iranian obligations have been hard to pin down.
5. The deal’s omissions are a lot clearer. Tehran is not committed to release information on its nuclear program prior to the date of the deal – including how far it had progressed towards a weapon.
6. The nuclear deal did not cover Iran’s long-range ballistic missile program, which continues to develop apace.
Ten months ago, the Obama administration tried to correct this omission by imposing fresh sanctions on Iran unless the program was curtailed. There is no information available up until now as to whether this deterrent worked.
7. US military action against Iran’s nuclear or missile programs may also serve the Trump administration to drive a wedge in the partnership between Moscow and Tehran and draw a new line in the sands of the Middle East. The Russians would certainly not step in by force in Iran’s defense, except for possibly sharing some intelligence. Moscow would be shown as failing to back its ally and therefore secure the gains Vladimir Putin managed to amass in the Middle East when Obama was president.