Dons speak on consequences of Trump’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

By Chinyere Nwachukwu

Lagos –  As reactions continue over the U.S. pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, some academics in Lagos have warned of its likely consequences.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the U.S. was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and threatened to impose economic sanctions against Iran.

The move, Iran vowed, will effectively kill the former US President Barack Obama’s initiative on the nuclear accord.

Reports said that in an effort to save the deal, French President Emmanuel Macron had in late April, offered Trump a ‘new deal’ in which the US and  Europe would tackle the outstanding concerns about Iran, beyond its nuclear programme.

In his reaction, a Professor of History and one-time Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, Prof. Ayodeju Olukoju, said that Trump’s decision was pitching his country against its closest allies.

Olukoju also said the action was also “leaving the future of Tehran’s nuclear ambition in question’’.

According to him, the issue at hand should be looked at, both locally and globally.

“History has placed a huge responsibility on the U.S., which makes it to be a leader among leaders.

“This alone requires that it must be careful about the kind of actions it takes, in order not to spark avoidable rancour among nations.

“As a leader, the U.S. must have strong considerations for its international politics and not just being too protective of its domestic policies.

“I do not want to see him as having an obsession about his policies, all in an attempt towards erasing his predecessor’s legacies,’’ he said.

Prof. Solomon Akinboye, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos, said the U.S. president’s action could lead to Iran expanding its nuclear programme.

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According to him, if this is allowed to happen, it will be dangerous, in terms of stability, peace and coexistence.

“All along, the U.S. had entered into a deal with its major European allies to stop Iran from developing this nuclear programme.

“We should understand that prior to Trump’s election, Iran has been seeking regional hegemony in the Middle East.

“The assumption is that Israel is occupying a strategic position in the Middle East and for this, it is trying to develop nuclear capabilities in the region.

“That simply meant that Israel possesses nuclear capabilities, which Iran does not want and this has been the case,’’ he said.

Akinboye added that Trump, in his usual characteristic, felt the deal entered into by his predecessor in this regard, was not comprehensive enough and so he felt it would not work out the way he wanted.

According to Akinboye, Trump had threatened early in the year that by May 2018, if the agreement is not rectified, he will pull out and he just made good the threat.

He said Trump’s action would now see Iran going back to expand its nuclear programme.

“This will be dangerous for the Middle East and a serious threat to the international community.

“Trump’s defence now will be to seek support from key European allies, with a view to imposing new multilateral sanctions against Iran.

“In my opinion, I think Iran should review its stand on the issue by dropping its idea of testing nuclear power or long range missiles.

“There should be a new US/Iran policy generally because the people are the ones that will suffer in the end.

“Thus, a new policy should go beyond the nuclear policy.

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“We should see policies that will promote peaceful coexistence and general stability,’’ he said.

Akinboye said that Iran, on the other hand, should strive to be more diplomatic in its approach by resolving not to expand its nuclear programme.

The Iran Nuclear Deal Framework was a preliminary framework agreement reached in 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and a group of world powers: the P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China – plus Germany) and the European Union.

Negotiations for a framework deal over the nuclear programme of Iran took place between the foreign ministers of the countries at a series of meetings held from March 26 to April 2, 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

On April 2, the talks came to a conclusion and a news conference was held to announce that the eight parties had reached an agreement on a framework deal.

The parties announced, “Today, we have taken a decisive step: we have reached solutions on key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,’’ which they intended to complete by June 30.

In announcing the framework, Foreign Minister Zarif stated: “No agreement has been reached so we do not have any obligation yet. Nobody has obligations now other than obligations that we already undertook under the Joint Plan of Action that we adopted in Geneva in November 2013.’’

On July 14, 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 and EU, a comprehensive agreement based on the April 2015 framework, was announced.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the deal. (NAN)

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