Opposition from United States (US) President Donald Trump to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ( the Iran Nuclear Deal), which was signed back on July 14, 2015 and aimed to curb Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, has placed the life of the treaty in peril, thus raising greater tensions in the already volatile Middle East.
The Nuclear Deal was signed by Iran and the P5+1 countries of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The accord limited Iran's nuclear program and enhanced monitoring of Iranian nuclear actions in exchange for relief from nuclear sanctions, which according to some reports, cost the Iranian people some $160 billion in oil revenue between the years 2012-16 alone.
European Union (EU) policy chief Federica Mogherini observed in October, 2017 that Iran had not violated the pact. She also insisted the deal could not renegotiated even by the US.
The deal limited the amount of centrifuges needed to enrich uranium at Iran's Natanz site to no more than 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient centrifuges at the site. Back in July 2015, Iran had some 20,000 centrifuges at the site. The deal also called for Iran's uranium stockpile to be reduced by 98 percent and that Iran would retain no more than 660 pounds of uranium for 15-years and keep the level of any enriched uranium at 3.67 percent, and not at the 90 percent enrichment needed to make a bomb.
Iran also agreed that for 15-years it would have 24-days to comply with any International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requests for monitoring.
An IAEA report found that until 2003, Iran had conducted a "coordinated effort" on a "range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device", but after 2009, there were "no credible indications" of nuclear weapons development in Iran, the IAEA board of governors report stated.
However, during his campaign for president and in his short tenure as president, Trump has criticized the Iran Nuclear Deal as being too lenient. [Keep in mind that History clearly records harsh punishment of a nation and the ensuing calamity of WWII.] He has threatened to reimpose sanctions on Iran on May 12 unless the US Congress and European powers fix what he has called "disastrous flaws" with the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran opposes changes to the treaty.
French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Trump in Washington, DC, this week, also appear to support changes to the Iran Nuclear Deal.
However, greater consideration should be given to the scope of what changing an international agreement would imply. If seven parties have signed an agreement, then, can one or two privy parties legally amend the pact over objection from the subject of the accord?
I say no. Only if the subject of the pact agrees to any changes, then amendments can be done. However, the pact could be voided. But for now, the Iran Nuclear Deal is legal. And in reality, a voided Iran Nuclear Deal will definitely not ease tensions in the Middle East, or the world in general.