It seemed we had not heard much about Iran in the last few years. Since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed to in 2015, things appeared to be going smoothly, as smoothly as a relationship between two radically different countries could go.
Many people opposed JCPOA at the time but it did create a cooling of a previously stormy and dangerous relationship. The plan was formed after lengthy negotiations that also included U.S. allies.
Simply, Iran was to eliminate stockpiles of medium enriched uranium, cut low enriched uranium by 98% and export all spent fuel to prevent reprocessing.
Upon verification of Iran’s compliance, the U.S. and its allies including the EU agreed to end sanctions on Iran including economic and financial.
The United Nations endorsed the plan. Trading boomed.
On May 18, 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the plan. At the time he stated that the plan was bad for the U.S. and poorly conceived and implemented. Many conservatives applauded his action.
Our allies, however, criticized the withdrawal. Most agreed that the plan was working. Independent experts also agreed that the plan was working.
So why did Trump abruptly withdraw from the agreement? It was not because Iran was violating its agreement. Some speculate that Trump killed the agreement because President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry negotiated
the terms. Others believe that Trump’s deepened relationship with Israel or the appointment of “hawkish” cabinet members and advisers influenced his decision.
But, regardless of the reason, here we are back in the heated and dangerous relationship with Iran. Each day we read the newspaper accounts of the latest accusations and name-calling. I did not miss the chants of “death to America.” Oh, for the good old days of 2015.
Jane Geis is a Leavenworth Times columnist.