To a vast number of political and nuclear scientists, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the United States and Iran is considered to be an extraordinary triumph which will ensure cooperation and peace for the foreseeable future. This feeling is not universal, however, as a great number of international politicians have not hesitated to voice their concerns regarding the JCPOA’s stipulations and the trustworthiness of the Iranian government. Most prominent among these anti-JCPOA politicians has been the recently-elected United States President, Donald J. Trump, at least until recently; it was reported under a week ago that President Trump decided to extend sanctions-relief toward Iran, a baseline admission of his newly-found confidence in the plan. To the chagrin of those who oppose the agreement, the White House’s decision heightens the chance of a longstanding implementation of this plan of action, a choice which will nearly guarantee a more positive future for the planet at large.
To begin to argue the JCPOA’s efficacy, it is crucial to first analyze what the trajectory of the international community would have been if deal was dissected and done away with by the Trump administration, as was originally intended. On the campaign trail, President Trump promised to “police that contract so tough [sic] they don’t have a chance,” but he failed to discuss an American course of action should Iran fail to meet his extremely high standards and militant enforcement. An Iranian breach would result in sanctions being snapped back, unnecessarily impacting both domestic and allied economies. Worse yet, the return of these detrimental sanctions would eviscerate any motivation Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would have to continue abiding by the contract’s obligations, and nuclear research and development would rapidly gain national prominence and public funding. Iranian nuclear findings would inevitably produce successful uranium enrichment exceeding 20% — a number the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) classifies as weapons-grade — and the continuation of Ayatollah Khamenei’s anti-semitic rhetoric would surely impel the nearby state of Israel to take preemptive action against Iran’s power plants. Violent confrontation would ensue, and considering that each of the combatants would presumably be nuclear powers, the world would be none-the-better.
With President Trump having accepted the relative trustworthiness of the Iranian government and the reliability of the JCPOA, however, the Middle East will be spared from this bleak future. Nuclear weapons will be kept out of the hands of an aggressive Iranian regime for at least the next 25 years. President Rouhani has proven that he can successfully abide by the maximum enrichment rate of 3.67%, enough to maintain civil nuclear reactors and utilize for efficient public energy development without endangering nearby nations. Excesses in enriched uranium, both in quantity or in sheer enrichment level, have and will continue to be turned to fuel by the IAEA, not by Iran. The institution of the JCPOA has also successfully hindered the progress made in the underground Iranian Furdow enrichment plant, where evaluations in 2015 revealed that enrichment rates had consistently reached 19.75%. As was outlined in contract, President Rouhani made true on his promise to remove each and every excess centrifuge, or enrichment device, from this underground facility. Iran has proven that a militant enforcement of standards will not be necessary, as Iranian efforts to cooperate have proven sincere and fruitful.
In addition to securing the safety of the United States, Israel, and the world, the continuation of the JCPOA brings an insurmountable number of nations closer to one another, be it directly or indirectly. With signatories including the European Union, China, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation, it is made strikingly apparent that this peace-brokering is far from a partisan affair. President Rouhani’s Iran, too, now faces for the first time in decades a potential to strengthen its economy and benefit those who live within its borders, as billions of dollars in sanctions-relief lie in store for the Iranian government. Naive as it may seem, a successful continuation of the JCPOA may potentially better ties between the United States and the often-antagonistic Iran, so long as President Rouhani can continue to meet the established standards. This would help to not only weaken the threats posed by one of the United States’ greatest rivals, but also to weaken the dominating spheres of influence currently held by Russia in the region, courtesy of Syria, Egypt, and, of course, Iran. All in all, should President Donald Trump and the White House continue to view the JCPOA in a positive light, the Middle East, the West, and the world at large will maintain newfound senses of safety and prosperity.