The decision by United States President Donald Trump to not certify the Iran deal for the next three month stanza shows a dangerous disregard for the only international agreement that the Iranian Government has agreed to comply with. And with the international community indicating that it will stand by the deal with or without the United States, Mr Trump’s reckless actions are of no help to New Zealand.
New Zealand’s interests in the Middle East are somewhat limited. However we – like the rest of the world – have an interest in the stabilization of the region, which is something that would be threatened by any United States attempt to trash the agreement.
New Zealand has several Middle East airlines flying into N.Z. airports as well as airlines that stop in Middle East airports. Emirates flies twin deck A380 aircraft into Auckland and Christchurch on a daily basis. Qatar Airlines flies into Auckland. Air New Zealand and other airlines fly through Dubai on their way to/from other destinations.
The New Zealand Government – rightfully or wrongfully (depending on ones view)has tried to cultivate trade relations with Middle East nations. This includes Iran and Saudi Arabia
So, what does the Iran deal do that is actually beneficial? A number of things:
- It prevents the Fordow plant in an underground mountain from enriching uranium.
- Irans centrifuges would be reduced to 6,000 which is down from the 19,000 Iran was known to have when the agreement was signed
- 96% of its low enriched uranium would be diluted or transported off shore and the remainder would not be allowed to be enriched – weapons grade uranium is highly enriched uranium
- The heavy water reactor at Arak would be filled in with concrete; no new heavy water plants would be built and the reactor would be designed to significantly reduce its plutonium capacity
- Iranian nuclear research would be limited in researching advanced centrifuges and would not be able to immediately ramp up research when the 10 year ban ends
Like everyone else, New Zealand will have no gains from a conflict or worsened international tensions caused by the United States walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that the Iranian nuclear deal comes under. It would result in a much more unstable international environment with potential Iranian support of proxy wars waged by its Syrian and Hezbollah allies. It would embolden the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has effectively stated by way of his actions that Palestine and Palestinians are not legitimate.
Which is why I was relieved to hear that the three Generals of the Trump Administration, Defense Secretary General Jim Mattis (Marine Corps), White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly (Marine Corps), National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster (Airforce)have sought to contain Mr Trump. Good luck to them. They might be the difference between peace and the next big (potentially catastrophic)war.
In which case, nobody wins, no matter how far one is from it.