WASHINGTON — There is “no doubt whatsoever” that President Donald Trump is prepared to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal if it cannot be fixed to ensure Tehran will not attain nuclear weapons, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States said on Sunday.
Speaking at the AIPAC policy conference, Ron Dermer said the 2015 pact, as it stands, “puts us all on cruise control heading over a cliff.” That is because the accord’s so-called “sunset clauses” will expire in eight to 13 years, he said, meaning that Iran can simply wait out those restrictions and then complete its nuclear program unless the accord, negotiated under the Obama administration, is not fixed.
Furthermore, said Dermer, within the terms of the agreement, Iran is already advancing its nuclear program by doing research and development work on advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment. “People think, ‘Well, at least we’ve frozen Iran’s nuclear program and we’ll have to deal with this issue in another decade,'” said Dermer. “That’s not true.”
Rather, the deal does give Iran permission to do R&D work on its advanced centrifuges. The deal specifies that Iran can only work on its IR-2, IR-4, IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges, Dermer scoffed, quipping that it was like saying Apple can only do R&D on its iPhone 11, 12, 13 and 14.
To fix the deal, Dermer said the sunset clauses would have to be removed. Furthermore, “crippling sanctions” should be imposed on Iran’s oil and financial sector’s against its program to develop ballistic missile that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons. The deal’s inspections provisions, he added, must be amended so that Iran’s military sites are subject to inspection.
The world must internalize that the US is prepared to walk away from the deal if the changes sought by the Trump administration are not instituted, said Dermer. If those changes are not made, said the ambassador, “I have no doubt whatsoever that this president is prepared to walk away from the deal.”
Dermer also used the opportunity to praise US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — an act, he said, that “will never be forgotten by the Jewish people.”
Trump will be hosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday, and Netanyahu is slated to speak at AIPAC on Tuesday.
Addressing the so-called Western Wall compromise for a permanent pluralistic prayer pavilion — frozen by the Israeli government to the deep dismay of many in the Diaspora — Dermer stressed that the deal had been frozen rather than scrapped. He said the prime minister is currently working to advance the practical components of the pavilion, and added, albeit vaguely, that he thought there would be “good news in the next year” on the issue.