POTUS Refuses Certification on Iranian Nuclear Deal Compliance
By Austin Thiele
- Iranian Nuclear Deal impacted by Trump’s refusal to certify
International community forced to respond
Iranian energy market crucial to their economy
President Donald Trump has once again sent waves throughout international communities with his decision Friday to refuse the recertification of Iranian Compliance in the Iranian Nuclear Deal. Despite his administration’s decisions to recertify compliance twice so far during President Trump’s tenure, his statements this past Friday reflect a new attitude towards Iranian compliance.
The Iranian Nuclear Deal was negotiated in 2015 between 6 countries: the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China, and Germany. This negotiation brought major restrictions to Iran’s nuclear development program. The quality allowed for uranium was restricted, and the number of centrifuges was limited. Iran had further agreed to inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency officials at any time to sites they deemed suspicious. The U.S. was to certify Iran’s compliance with these sanctions every 90 days.
In return for accepting these sanctions against their nuclear development program, many sanctions that have been crippling Iran’s economy were lifted. Iran’s nuclear capabilities were restricted, and in return, their economy would now flourish. With Trump’s fresh refusal, people are worried about what this might mean for future negotiations going forward. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani affirmed that they will remain in support of the deal along with the other nations who participated in its negotiation. It should be noted that the US is the only nation in the pact to not certify Iran of their current compliance with sanctions.
This decision, however, did not come as a surprise. Trump has long voiced his disdain for the deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama. His concerns mainly stem from the fact that the sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program only prolong the time until Iran will be able to develop a nuclear-grade weapon. Many sanctions implemented have a forecast of 15 years, with the most being 25 years. After this timeframe, the sanctions will be dropped.
With the refusal to certify Iranian compliance, Trump has potentially weakened an essential piece of legislation that has received plenty of world attention. Even Russia has warned the U.S. not to withdraw from the deal, stating it would harm “predictability, security, stability and non-proliferation[of nuclear weapons] around the world.”
So what does this mean for Iranian energy firms and international attitude toward the energy markets? Petroleum counts as 80% of Iran’s exports, therefore any changes or statements involving Iranian oil are extremely significant to the country. Iran increased production in 2016 when sanctions relating to oil production were relaxed. Oil prices have plummeted recently due to market share competition in the region between OPEC, Iran, and other oil producing nations. Due to economic sanctions that were in place prior to 2015, Iran’s energy sector had been unable to operate at full capacity.
Following President Trump’s remarks, Iran may continue to struggle finding investors willing to commit to the region. For over 30 years, the U.S. has not been a purchaser of Iranian oil. Trump’s comments on his dissatisfaction of the deal may not stop other European countries from purchasing Iranian petroleum. However, firms that have ties to the U.S. would have to weigh the impact of doing business with a country with conflicts of interest with the U.S.
In conclusion, Trump’s decision to refuse certification of Iranian compliance will have lasting effects throughout the international community. Other world powers are pressuring Trump to reconsider. With the ability of the United States to financially punish those who continue to do business with Iran, it will be interesting to see how energy firms continue to participate in the Iranian petroleum market.