Muammar Qaddafi learned the hard way how the U.S. reneges on deals.

By Robert W. Merry
October 10, 2017
The American Conservative


Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan chief of state, attends the 12th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 2, 2009. He was killed during the 2011 U.S.-led military intervention in Libya. (Credit: U.S. Navy)

Word is out that President Trump this week will “decertify” the nuclear deal with Iran, also known as JCPOA, for Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This is the deal struck with Tehran not only by the United States but also by France, Germany, Russia, China, the UK, and the European Union. It’s a nifty word, “decertify.” It hides the real meaning of Trump’s planned action. The correct word is “renege.”

That’s a loaded word in polite society. It characterizes a person or organization or nation that doesn’t care about his or its character sufficiently to live up to his or its commitments and promises. To say someone has reneged on an agreement is to call into question that person’s honesty, self-respect, and sense of honor.

Trump is called upon every 90 days, based on the Iran Nuclear Review Act, to certify whether Iran is living up to the JCPOA deal, which suspended economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for Tehran freezing, for 15 years, whatever nuclear weapons development it may have been engaged in. Trump hates the deal, as he has made clear since the beginning of the 2016 election cycle, and he doesn’t want to go on record saying Iran is living up to it.

But it is. That’s the judgment of all the other signatories to the agreement, as well as the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which has issued eight separate certifications of compliance since the deal was struck in 2015. According to news reports, when Trump previously certified Iranian compliance, he did so reluctantly and only under pressure from his three top foreign policy and national security staffers—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time around, apparently, he doesn’t plan to listen to those officials.

But what are the consequences when a nation reneges on a solemn agreement with not just another nation but six other nations and a union of many more—with the entire world watching? How do other nations deal with a country that blithely casts aside the commitments it accepted through what were assumed to be good-faith negotiations?

Read more