A curious comment, considering the source, which routinely calls for the destruction of the US as a “Great Satan” that can’t be trusted. It’s doubly curious for a regime that won’t allow IAEA inspectors into military sites to check compliance with the deal in question. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani tells NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt that it will be America with the credibility issue if it decertifies the Iran deal:
Holt asks whether Iran had threatened a military response for pulling out of the deal. No, Rouhani responded, the “high cost” remark was a reference to credibility, which he called the highest cost possible:
“The exiting of the United States from such an agreement would carry a high cost, meaning that subsequent to such an action by the United States of America, no one will trust America again,” Rouhani told Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in a one-on-one interview airing Tuesday.
He added: “Every word was analyzed many times by countries involved before its ratification, so if the United States were to not adhere to the commitments and trample upon this agreement, this will mean that it will carry with it the lack of subsequent trust from countries towards the United States because the greatest capital that any country has is trust and credibility.” …
Asked if Iran would continue to abide by the deal if the United State withdrew, Rouhani said his country’s commitments “would no longer exist” and it would be free to pursue a new path.
“One of the options and choices were one of our counterparts not to remain in the current framework would be to go back to previous activities,” Rouhani said. “This is one option. And that’s not difficult. We can easily go back to previous conditions if counterparts were to not live up to their commitments. But you do know fairly well that Iran will not be the initiator of this return to that path.”
Ahem. The LA Times report from three weeks ago offers a stark look into the issue of trust:
Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations organization tasked with monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities, have not requested access to military sites since the agreement went into effect, according to experts monitoring the process.
The IAEA, in its most recent report in June, said Iran was meeting its obligations under the pact. Experts say inspectors rely on intelligence reports and other information to determine whether sites they have not visited are being used for potentially illicit purposes.
Last week, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, took the administration’s concerns to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Vienna. Haley said the inspectors’ reports “can only be as good as the access Iran grants to any facility the IAEA suspects of having a nuclear role,” according to a U.S. summary of the meeting.
Remember that the IAEA’s intel largely missed and/or underestimated the development of the nuclear-weapons program. The real reason that they won’t ask for access, though, is because everyone knows Iran would refuse — which would negate the deal. That gives Tehran carte blanche to do whatever they like on nuclear weapons development.
Therefore, the problem for the US wouldn’t be a loss of credibility; it would be a loss of leverage. Rouhani’s correct only on the point that our Western allies won’t have the stomach to revisit effective sanctions, and both Russia and China are less inclined than ever to approve them at the UN Security Council. That’s not Trump’s fault — that’s the fault of Barack Obama for taking the bad deal in the first place.
On top of that, as I wrote yesterday, Iran already got most of the benefits of this deal in the first few weeks of its implementation. It got access to $150 billion in assets, and more than $1 billion in cash payments from the US. They can sell oil on the world markets again, and that means they can invest in their domestic economy more effectively while still backing terror networks such as Hezbollah and Hamas. That eases any political pressure for regime change, strengthening the mullahs for the long haul. And if the deal falls apart, they can go right back to developing nuclear weapons, which will cement their security … at least from the outside.
The Trump administration has until October 13 to announce their intentions on the deal. At the moment, they have few options, none of which are good, which is one reason why Trump let loose on Iran in his UN speech today. At this point, he’ll have to do a whole lot more selling to get the P5+1 band back together, let alone the UNSC.