Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Final Days of a Crippled Agreement

Less than 24 hours after Israel's strike targeting Iranian forces in Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the nuclear deal was groundless and based on false Iran-provided evidence, stressing that his country was not seeking a war with Iran.

But three US officials told NBC that Israel and Iran are moving closer to open warfare. They added that Israel is actually preparing for an impending war with Iran and is in the process of seeking US support.

Israeli F-15s hit Hama after Iran delivered weapons to a base that houses Iran's 47th Brigade, including surface-to-air missiles. In addition to killing two dozen troops, including officers, the strike wounded three other dozen.

Away from the heated war of words and threats between Israel and Iran, nine days stand before a decisive point in history-- US President Donald Trump will be announcing his decision on the nuclear agreement on May 12.

Trump decision is expected to either be a complete withdrawal from the deal, insist on amendments and re-imposing of sanctions. A third scenario is possible, but highly unlikely, in which Trump chooses to go on without a conclusive decision.

For three years, European countries considered this agreement an untouchable ‘holy pact’, but that tone changed in an attempt to open the door for a compromise which would keep the US from pulling out, and the agreement from collapsing.

French President Emmanuel Macron is not pushing for renegotiating the deal signed in mid-2015, but rather for a compromise and opting to back the deal with three other agreements.

Ensuing agreements would include immediate negotiations on Syrian and Yemeni issues, negotiations on Iranian ballistic missiles and finally on the validity of the nuclear agreement itself, which spans for 10 years.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers, the Iranian Natanz facility will be limited to installing centrifuges for 10 years only.
Of course, European concerns when it comes to Trump leaving the deal rise from a fear of losing the chance to realize economic interests that they have with Iran.

For European states defending the nuclear agreement, Iran exporting ballistic missiles to Yemeni coup militias with an agenda to strike Saudi Arabia does not concern them.

Europeans do not care whether Iran has military bases in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen or not, what is relevant is that their investors do not withdraw from Tehran.

They are trying hard to salvage economic interests at a time when both the White House and US intelligence are critically concerned with Iranian missiles developing rapidly.

If missiles reach a professional manufacture and engineering capacity, they will be soon able to carry nuclear warheads and inflict considerable harm not only to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, but to US Middle East interests.

All that Iran has done to answer to these fears is claim that its ballistic missile program was not a part of the agreement, and that its missiles do not transport nuclear warheads—another spewed lie matching Iran’s known tendency to tell untruths.

The world waited for a decade to sign a crippled deal.

Only a little over a week is left to light the red signal and fix the gaps and flaws infesting the agreement which helped malevolent forces arm 50,000 members of extremist militias in Syria.

Since day one, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stood solid in its warning of the agreement making the Middle East “a more dangerous part of the world,” while the majority of the world thought it would foster peace in the region.

Days passed and proved the kingdom right, and that signatories had rushed into the deal without seeing the threat posed by Iran. Is there anyone left who doubts the validity of Saudi insight?!