Some 51 groups and institutions said to be representing millions of Americans called on U.S. lawmakers on February 20 to pave the way for the United States' return to the nuclear deal with Iran, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
President Donald Trump announced on May 8, 2018, the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 deal which he called "horrible" and "one-sided," and re-imposed sanctions against Tehran that had been lifted in 2016 as part of the deal.
A statement calling for re-joining the JCPOA was issued after the Democratic Party's national committee approved a resolution that demanded the move. The resolution suggested diplomacy as the way ahead after returning to the deal with Iran and called for working with other parties to the agreement in order to find a solution for the other challenges the world faces because of Iran's “regional meddlesome behavior” as well as Tehran's violation of human rights and the way it deals with political prisoners and dual nationals.
Hannah Kaviani, a Radio Farda journalist, has talked with a number of foreign policy experts concerning demands for a change in the Trump administration's policy about the nuclear deal with Iran. She asked Logan Bayroff, director of communications of J Street, a liberal non-profit organization that supports Israel and one of the signatories to the statement, why the organization has joined the campaign.
Bayroff said that Jay Street has been "a very strong supporter" of the JCPOA, and called it "a great diplomatic achievement in preventing Iran's access to nuclear weapons." He said the deal boosted the security of the United States and its allies.
Bayroff said withdrawal from the JCPOA was "a big mistake." Meanwhile, he explained that the statement calls on the next U.S. President to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, and to be committed to diplomacy for dealing with Iran's behavior in the region, "rather than distancing ourselves from our allies and putting us on a path to war."
He added that it is essential to raise this issue now as Democratic Party's candidates for the next election are stepping into the arena and the campaigners want them to know about the demands for democratic behavior and interest in following diplomacy as a solution.
In another interview, Robert Einhorn, senior fellow at Brookings institute told Radio Farda that the Trump administration is not going to follow the advice to re-join the JCPOA," adding that "I would imagine such a recommendation would be only plausible with a successor administration."
Einhorn also called the Trump administration's withdrawal from the JCPOA "a huge mistake," adding, "clearly, the democrats are more supportive of the JCPOA than the republicans," however he opined that it would not be wise to go back to the JCPOA directly. "I think that a successor administration should make clear to Iran that it is prepared to negotiate a revised JCPOA, a revised nuclear bargain with Iran."
However, he reminded that as the next administration takes office some of the deadlines, for instance those that put an end to Iran's limitations for nuclear research and development, would be fast approaching and the next administration needs to be mindful of those and the fact that at that time Iran would also call for lifting a set of sanctions.
Asked if Iran's missile program should also be included in the talks, Einhorn said that those are two different issues and that Iran regards the missile program as part of its national security, adding that whether to include the missile program in the negotiations is a matter to be determined in the future.
However, he said Iran will have strong incentives to re-enter talks with America with the objective of alleviating its economic difficulties.
Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and a critic of JCPOA also spoke with Radio Farda and saidthat "any decision to re-enter the JCPOA by a democratic President and any effort to encourage that, perfectly plays into the strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Asked if the idea of a revised JCPOA would work for the United States, Dubowitz said: "I think Secretary Pompeo has the same idea, which is to reach a comprehensive agreement that covers a full range of Iran's malign activities". Dubowitz expressed support for a revised agreement that would address the "fatal flaws of the JCPOA."
He also stressed that "the current administration's policy is to come to the table with Iran at any time. There seems to be no preconditions to negotiations. My sense is that the President would be happy to meet with Hassan Rouhani or whoever the regime would like to send for negotiations."
However, Dubowitz added that "to go back to the JCPOA as it is currently structured would be playing exactly into the patient pathway to nuclear weapons Iran is continuing to follow, and the reality is that if there is a new president, the arms ban would expire by then, the missile ban would only have a few years left and we would be only a few years away from Iran being able to fully expand and industrialize its nuclear program … so, it is delusional to believe that we can go back to the current JCPOA, and it is certainly delusional to believe that you can get these concessions from Iran without a maximum pressure campaign."