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Home Articles Flashpoints Julie Bishop Right About Iran Deal

Julie Bishop Right About Iran Deal

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 29 OCT 2017


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is right about the Iran deal.

Walking away from it is a crazy idea, which makes it impossible, not only for the North Koreans to trust a possible deal with the US, but makes it impossible for any Government, even one allied to the US, to trust that it will be true to its word and will not simply turn around when an arrangement does not suit it (or worse – even when, objectively viewed, an arrangement DOES suit it if it could but see that it does)- and try to move the goalposts.

The USA cannot in fact, simply nix the JCPOA for the simple reason that the JCPOA just isn't a bilateral US-Iran arrangement – its actually a UN Security Council resolution with a very long appendix, that has been voted on by a large number of Governments and not merely signed off on by the US and Iran.

Prominent in the negotiations and in the enactment of the deal were the Europeans and Russia, both of whom have made it perfectly clear that as far as they are concerned the deal stands – as it does for Iran itself. If the US spits the dummy on the JCPOA, then it will do so absolutely alone and will be completely isolated on this issue.

The US has said that it is in order to punish Iran for its policies in other areas than nuclear weapons – in its support for Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels – and simply to 'counter' Iran's growing influence in the middle east – that it is reneging on the deal.

This is itself ridiculous and ill-advised. Iran's relationship with the US, and Iranian and US interests in the middle east ought to make Iran a powerful potential ALLY of the US in a fight against ISIS. The US says that Iran supports terrorism but this again is ridiculous – by far the most powerful patrons of terrorism are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, not Iran, who stands to lose from it. Far from trying to 'counter' Iranian influence in the ME, the US would be wiser to ditch the Saudis and line up with Iran. By doing so it would also help to bolster moderate and democratic forces within Iran, who are once more natural US allies if not fellow-travelers and who need all the help they can get.

Finally, its well to remember that Iran does not have, and did not have, (even before the JCPOA) a nuclear weapons program. The DPRK does have one, and we are stumbling into a potentially catastrophic war with it. Julie Bishop is quite right that DPRK will be less inclined to negotiate with a partner that it has no reason to believe will keep its word. Things already look as if we are lurching into catastrophe with the DPRK, and this is just one more reason that country has to believe in its nuclear deterrent and not in the world of the United States. Julie Bishop has on a number of occasions called for measures to take down the temperature, and for negotiations and dialogue She is right about that too. What is required with the DPRK are negotiations completely without preconditions or even just talks about talks about talks.

While Donald Trump is president, Australia itself should be careful of what our all-too-close relationship might drag us into. Australia must not be dragged into hostilities with the DPRK that could potentially place Australian cities at risk imperiling millions of Australians.

John Hallam
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project

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