The Iran nuclear deal is up for recertification on May 12, and this week’s edition of Last Week Tonight took its time to highlight why it is an important diplomatic achievement, as well as to profile why President Trump might undercut it.
The deal vastly haltered Iran’s nuclear threat, forbidding them from enriching Uranium beyond amounts vastly lower than what is needed to develop nuclear weapons and subjecting Iranian facilities to constant observation. In exchange, the U.S. and a coalition of other nations released funds held from Iran by sanctions. The deal keeps these measures in place for the next 10 to 15 years, but has been met with heavy criticism from U.S. and Iranian officials for different reasons. Most of that criticism, especially remarks from Trump himself, has been debunked as misleading or untrue, but with the deal’s recertification scheduled for May 12, Trump now has the ability to back out of the deal.
Blowing up the Iran deal could cause ramifications that impact multiple nations on a global scale. The Trump administration has stated that Iran could just wait out the agreement and ramp up its nuclear capacity when the deal expires, though there is little evidence to support that claim currently. If those claims are true, ending the deal now would only allow those fears to come to fruition much sooner than if the deal remained in place. That increase in nuclearization could begin an arms race in the Middle East that could further strain the already-stressed relations between Iran and its neighbors, with Israel being a key target.
These concerns seem to hold very little sway with the president’s advisors, most notably new National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has been a vocal opponent of the deal for years. Bolton has also advocated for the invasion of Iran in an effort to topple its Islamic regime, most recently detailed in an address given in Paris last year where he declared, “Before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran.” Trump has established measures he wants in exchange for recertification, but none of them are mutually beneficial to both sides and fall very short of adoption, not only by Iran but also the nations that negotiated the deal alongside the U.S.
You should know how poor your argument’s foundation is when a pro-Brexit buffoon like Boris Johnson is able to easily swipe away your claims that the deal is unfair.
Another key point brought up by Oliver is that while the promoted national image of Iran is one that still lives by the “Death to America” credo, there is a large population of educated Iranians who oppose the ruling regime and are becoming increasingly more open to western influence in their culture. Oliver outlines these sentiments by highlighting the DIY Iranian skateboarding scene and the rise of knock-off fast food establishments such as “ZFC” and “Pizza Hat.” Despite the Trump administration’s continued attempts to villainize the nation on a general scale, the dichotomy of its people and their views is far more vast than the message coming from the White House.
Despite everything pointing to the deal being good, Trump still has the power to end it in some fashion in a few weeks’ time. While there is little we as a nation can do to sway his thoughts, Oliver did his part by enlisting the “Catheter Cowboy” one more time for an ad meant to influence the president that will air during Hannity this week. We already know Trump enjoys watching his fellow Cohen client on a nightly basis. Maybe this week he’ll actually listen to something other than the congratulatory musings of a man with even less journalistic integrity than we originally thought.
Check out Oliver’s segment below. If enough of us watch, maybe we’ll actually get that Iranian history podcast with James Van Der Beek.