Confronting North Korea and Iran

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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The weak Iranian nuclear deal, which the former American administration agreed upon, is partially responsible for North Korea’s surge in developing its nuclear program.

Iran was rewarded with a sum of $150 billion as per the deal and the country managed to retrieve funds withheld since the days of the Shah, with profits. It was also granted massive contracts to develop its technical and manufacturing abilities and most international sanctions against them were lifted.

A besieged North Korea has also chosen to blackmail the world because it views this as profitable trade. Just like Iran threatened to burn Israel, North Korea is threatening Japan. Its second nuclear missile test two weeks ago sailed over Japan’s skies. There are now no doubts over the threats that North Korea poses.

Also read: Diplomats: US, Iran set for first meeting on nuclear deal at UN

Washington has two options now – either offer North Korean leader Kim Jong-un an agreement similar to Tehran’s or to end the agreement with the Iranians and propose new ideas to strip Iran and North Korea off their nuclear capabilities.

In a seminar at the Enterprise Institute, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikky Haley linked between the two threats. She warned that if nuclear agreement with Iran does not change, it will allow Tehran to pose the same threat as North Korea.

If Iran succeeds in controlling or dominating Iraq and Syria in the next few years, its ability to impose its military nuclear project will double

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Amending the agreement

So will the current American administration be able to end the agreement signed with Iran two years ago?

Haley noted that the agreement should not be entirely revoked as she called for amending it in ways that do not allow the Iranian regime to secretly develop military nuclear powers. She also called for linking the agreement to Iran’s behavior in the region after its forces and militias entered several countries to fight and impose their influence.

US President Donald Trump does not have a lot of time to make up his mind. There are almost two weeks left before he has to inform the Congress whether Iran is committed to the agreement or not. If he says it is not, the Congress will impose sanctions again.

Meanwhile, Iran said it will quit the deal if sanctions are imposed and it will resume its military nuclear program and production of highly enriched uranium. Gulf and regional countries stand watching as they do not have the ability to deter Iran’s regime or to end the agreement.

OPINION: Risks of Iran nuclear deal collapse

Gulf countries have since the beginning thought that a legitimate agreement is good in principle but they think that the signed agreement is bad as it just defers production of nuclear military capabilities and does not put an end to them. They also think that lifting of sanctions does not rely on the condition that Tehran suspends its hostile military activity.

If Iran succeeds in controlling or dominating major countries like Iraq and Syria in the next few years, then its capabilities to impose its military nuclear project will double and the nuclear agreement will not be of great value. In this case, it will be difficult for the international community to impose sanctions on it considering its massive influence.

Iran is observing the current developments because what Trump will do to North Korea also sends a message to it. Trump is not Obama. He will not send gifts to Tehran or keep silent over its insults. At least, that’s what I think.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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