OSAKA, Japan – President Donald Trump arrived Thursday to hold a meeting of world leaders in search of support for a new curbing agreement an increasingly aggressive Iran. It is unlikely that he will find any.
In the meantime, Iran has announced that it will soon violate the limits established in the 2015 International Atomic Energy Convention. He is angry at Trump's resignation and the imposition of tough sanctions against the country. The move threatens to definitively kill the agreement and leave the global community without any major restrictions on Iran's nuclear ambitions – not to mention funding violent proxy groups in the region – even though Trump has long declared that it wants to pursue an expansive agreement that covers all these activities.
But the president in Japan is unlikely to find help where Trump will attend the G-20 conference on three days of meetings, a gathering of the world's largest economies. Not only are other countries continuing to support the 2015 agreement, they are also skeptical that Trump can actually achieve better agreement, especially given his upcoming re-election campaign and the fact that Iran has recently proclaimed the end of diplomacy with the US.
"The Iranians I believe a game against the Democrats who won the White House would be worth the risk of disrupting the Trump administration," said Michael Rubin, a former Defense Department official who is now a local scholar works at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "In short, it costs us something if there is no party-political solidarity on the foreign policy front."
Trump abruptly canceled a retaliatory strike against Iran last week after shooting down an unmanned US surveillance drone and instead opted for new sanctions against Iranian leaders. The sanctions should force Iran to negotiate, but Iran's fierce reaction shows that they may complicate diplomacy, at least initially.
Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, dismissed the move as "fruitless," insisting that he "permanently spells out closure of the road of diplomacy" between Tehran and Washington.
At the G-20 summit, Trump will meet heads of state and government from three countries that have signed the landmark 2015 agreement with Iran – Germany, China, Russia – and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia Arabia, one of Trump's only allies for tougher actions against Iran. The other signatories to the agreement, Great Britain and France, will also have delegations.
The Trump administration presents the conference as an opportunity for Trump to speak in person.
"This is an opportunity for the President to engage with a number of different international leaders among our closest allies and allies to seek their support and debate on how we encourage Iran to negotiate and on diplomacy of the president can act diplomatically, rather than terrorism and nuclear blackmail. A senior government official said.
However, as Trump discussed a possible new deal in the past two weeks, he focused intensively on Iran's possible persecution of nuclear weapons, occasionally mentioning the country's financing of terrorist groups.
"I think they want to bargain," Trump said on Sunday "Meet the Press." "And I think they want to make a deal, and my deal is nuclear."
The language has analysts and former officials Surprised, saying that he signals that he wants a deal that closely matches the 2015 agreement he has been attacking for years. Trump also said he would negotiate with Iran without preconditions.
Trump's latest rhetoric is in contrast to his more hawkish aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, who continue to focus on a list of 12 far-reaching demands on Iran, both nuclear and ballistic Weapons deal with rockets and terrorism. Critics said that Iran needs to change regimes to meet the demands.
"The US internal views on a deal are divided, and that means it's difficult to reach a consensus position for talks, especially if some in the [U.S. government] believe that the only deal worth it is to be completed, one is where there is no Iranian Speaking of a nuclear program, "said Richard Nephew, a former state department and National Security Council sanctioning expert who helped negotiate the 2105 agreement before he joined joined the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Trump resigned from the 2015 agreement – which provided relief for Iran when the country curtailed its nuclear program – in May 2018. Even without the US, the agreement has remained intact, albeit in ever shorter terms.
Iran has announced that it will exceed its restrictions on low enriched uranium stocks on Thursday. The country has also threatened to enrich its uranium beyond the scope of the agreement to bring it closer to the ability to produce a nuclear weapon.
The situation has been exacerbated by several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which the Trump government accused Iran of.
Before leaving Washington, Trump again criticized the agreement and noted some The terms of the contract have an expiration date, stating that observers are not allowed to visit certain non-nuclear entities without requesting access and a short delay ,
"The deal was a terrible deal," he told reporters in the White House. "It was not good. It was not good. … They had a clear path to a nuclear weapon. We will not allow that. You can not do it. "
However, US allies remain firmly committed to the agreement, with French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, ready to discuss another agreement, but only if the original pact remains in force, said a senior European Union diplomat. 19659008] "The situation is very difficult for us, for the EU, to follow the US," the official said, "what the countries that are left in the 2015 agreement are, above all," is the reason for the talks between the US Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert from the Foundation for Democracy Defenses, rejected the 2015 deal and advised the Trump administration, adding, "This leads to contradictions in Iran's policy
Trump has repeatedly demonstrated during his two-and-a-half-year tenure that he is ready to on his own foreign policy, if he does not get support. However, the go-it-alone approach has not always led to the results that Trump strives for.
Tom Bossert, who served as Trump's internal security adviser until last year, said sanctions are the means of the president's election. He noted, however, that Trump's Iranian sanctions should convey the message that he wants to speak – even if nobody else does.
"It imposes sanctions for a broader purpose," Bossert said.
So far, however, he has not achieved this purpose. And critics fear it could mean war, even if it's unintentional. Before Trump broke off the retaliatory strike on Iran last week, the Pentagon announced that another 1,000 American troops would be sent to the Middle East.
"Trump wants diplomacy," said Thomas Wright. a geopolitics expert at the left-liberal Brookings Institution.
"But it was a bit confusing for all of us how these conversations would actually look," he added.
Jacopo Barigazzi in Brussels contributed to this report.