Analysis: A Trump presidency puts the Iran deal on the rocks

Trump's victory places a right-wing government in charge of the United States, which could work in conjunction with a right-wing Israeli leadership.

November 9, 2016 15:20
3 minute read.
Iran missles

Iran tests new precision-guided ballistic missile‏ [File]. (photo credit: IRANIAN MEDIA)


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If Trump holds true to his campaign promises, his presidency could likely end the US conflict with Israel on two key issues: the Iran deal and West Bank settlements.

Over the last eight years the disagreement between the two allies over these topics was cannon fodder for the often acrimonious relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu’s persistent campaign against the agreement even took him to Washington, where he addressed a joint session of Congress, in a plea for the US politicians to halt the actions of their own president.

During the election, Trump minced no words in showing his disdain for the June 15th agreement between Tehran and the six-world powers, including the US, that was designed to curb Iran’s nuclear capacity. Donald Trump addressing the AIPAC conference

He promised to tear up the deal, which he said gives the US nothing in return for a contract that will allow Tehran to produce nuclear weapons even if it complies with the terms of the agreement.

“It’s the stupidest deal of all time,” Trump said.

“It’s a one-sided transaction where we are giving back $150 billion to a terrorist state,” he said.

Iran has already taken Trump at his word. Within hours of his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning in New York, Iran demanded that the US maintain the deal.

"The United States should fulfill its commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear deal) as a multilateral international agreement," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif was quoted as saying while on a visit to Romania.

He was not the only one who wasted no time in reminding Trump of pre-campaign promises.

Most of the settler leaders issued congratulatory statements to Trump, expressing their enthusiasm for the new page in US-Israel relations that they foresaw with his entry into the White House.

Under his leadership, the Republican party changed its platform during the election to eliminate any mention of the two-state solution. It recognized Jerusalem as the united capital of the Jewish state, and issued an affirmative statement that Israel was not an occupier in the West Bank, otherwise known as Judea and Samaria.

Trump has also promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Since 2009, Netanyahu has pledged his support to the two-state solution, but has insisted that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s capital and that Israel has a right to continue to build in Judea and Samaria.

Some of the settlers said that a Trump presidency would allow them to annex Area C of the West Bank. Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that this was the time for Israel to retract the idea of a Palestinian state.

In the days leading up to the election and until its last hour, there were those in the United States and indeed throughout the world, that expected Wednesday to dawn with a Hillary Clinton presidency.

As a former First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State, they were reassured by the notion of someone with so much foreign policy experience at the helm of one of the world’s super powers.

While they might be gasping at the sudden void of experience at the top, the dramatic turn around of a Trump presidency has some beneficial aspects for Israel.

It places a right-wing government in charge of the United States, which could work in conjunction with a right-wing Israeli leadership.

Unlike Obama, Trump, whose party also controls the House of Representatives and the Senate, would have  more freedom to act on his policy initiatives than his predecessor, who fought repeatedly with the Republican Congress.

The timing could not be better. It comes as the Palestinian campaign to force Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines is gaining steam and as Iran’s is increasing its activities in the Middle East.

In spite of the anti-Semitic overtones of some of Trump’s campaign choices, his presence in the White House could end the daylight between Washington and Jerusalem.

With regard to Iran, it could help decrease the threat from Tehran, and stymie Palestinian diplomatic warfare against the Jewish state.

For those on the Israeli Left, who believe that Israel’s rule of the West Bank is a threat to Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, a Trump presidency is one more setback in a long list of defeats it has suffered.

But for those on the Right, it falls like a rainstorm after a long period of drought.

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