A renewed JCPOA provides a way to avoid the threat of war that would arise should Iran at some point move toward nuclear capability.

By Kevin Martin and Phyllis Bennis, The Progressive Magazine

It could be make or break time for the Iran nuclear deal.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was the Obama administration’s top foreign policy achievement. It led to dramatic reductions in Iran’s ability to enrich uranium in return for the U.S. and its allies lifting nuclear-related sanctions that were crippling Iran’s economy.

missiles on display at iran military museum

Former President Donald Trump abrogated the agreement just over four years ago. The Biden administration’s talks with Iran to revive the deal have since progressed impressively, but now they have stalled again.

The problem lies with one of the many new sanctions Trump imposed against Iran during his last days in office that have nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program or the JCPOA.

Under Trump, the U.S. designated an elite Iranian military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a foreign terrorist organization. That led to extreme sanctions against individuals and agencies connected to this group.

The designation was explicitly designed by Trump to serve as a “poison pill” that would make it politically much harder for the U.S. to rejoin the deal, since it would require lifting sanctions against a so-called “terrorist” organization.

Unfortunately, the ploy seems to have worked.

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