US regional allies led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have begun lobbying Congress for the right to enrich uranium themselves, citing that the JCPOA allows “Shiite Iran” to do so. Corker has also touched on this issue, stating that “we’ve got to ultimately get to a place where we renegotiate this deal and they never have the right to enrich.” Meanwhile, a senior US official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the Trump administration is pushing for inspections of Iranian military sites.
During the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Trump also called on foreign leaders to stop doing business with Iran, in direct contravention of the nuclear deal’s text prohibiting actions that “adversely” affect Iran establishing normal economic relations. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described Trump’s comments as a violation of “not the spirit but of the letter” of the JCPOA. He added that Iran has “available” the option to withdraw from the deal in the event of “significant nonperformance” by the United States.
The Trump White House is on the brink of an action that will have major consequences for peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond. However, Trump’s options are not limited.
The root of the Trump administration’s qualms with Iran has to do with US-Iran differences on regional issues. Therefore, the Trump White House must recognize that the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement involving five other global powers that is focused only on the nuclear dispute, and it is an agreement that met each side’s bottom lines — not their maximalist demands.