One question that remains is if Trump could use the “Kim model” to deal with Iran as well.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone sep
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

 

WASHINGTON – The recent meeting between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong Un, created some optimism around the globe. US stocks rise on Monday morning, following the unexpected meeting, and the fact that Trump was the first sitting President ever to set foot in North Korea.

And while Trump and Kim are not even close to reaching an agreement, many analysts agree that the positive relations between the two could help defuse tensions and help in improving stability in the Korean Peninsula.

But at the same time, at the other side of the globe, the Iranians announced that their stockpiles of enriched uranium are now above the level that was set in the nuclear agreement of 2015, in a clear message to the United States.

One question that remains is if Trump could use the “Kim model” to deal with Iran as well. For some time, the President has called for the Iranians to get back to the negotiations table to discuss a new nuclear agreement, but they refused to do so. What’s the difference between the two cases?

Howard Stoffer, Associate Professor at the National Security Department of the University of New Haven, told the Jerusalem Post that there is no resemblance between negotiating Iran and negotiating North Korea. “It’s mixing apples and oranges because the circumstances are so fundamentally different.”

“I think that one of the main differences is, the Ayatollah is 80 years old. Kim is 35,” he continued. “Like his father and grandfather, he always wanted to meet the American President. He’s the first one to have achieved that.”

“In the case in the Ayatollah, he did authorize and allow an agreement with the United States under the Obama Administration. And then Trump comes in and not only breaks the agreement but then impose the sanctions that are very much damaging their economy. And that’s a good thing because while I don’t agree with breaking the agreement, I think that they’d been spending billions of dollars in support of Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Quds forces in Syria.”

Stoffer, who served in the State Department between 1980 to 2005, was the Deputy Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate of the United Nations Security Council for seven years.

“I think it’s different cultures,” he told the Post. “You have a leader that believes that having a nuclear capability is an assurance that the Americans won’t attack. In the case of Iran, it’s different. They don’t have a nuclear of capability. They’re willing to let people suffer because it’s a theocracy.”

He added that he couldn’t see the Iranians coming back to the table. “I don’t think that they would ever be willing after Trump turned his back on them to sit down with him. Trump says, ‘I’ll talk to them anytime.’ Well, what will get out of that? That would make them look like they’re bending to Trump’s will. And I don’t think they’re willing to do that.”

Mike Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He specializes in Middle East security issues. He told the Post that while negotiations with Iran are possible, it’s not going to take place soon.
“I think the chance of that is, small because I don’t think that the Iranians at this stage see an advantage to having a bilateral sit down with Donald Trump. They might; I wouldn’t rule it out. Especially a few months from now, but right now, I think that their major play is to push the Europeans out to mediate and to get the Europeans to put pressure on Trump.”

He explained¬†the Post¬†the Iranians are now trying to save some of the components of the nuclear agreement. “The number one priority of the Iranians right now is not to get a deal with Donald Trump in the broader sense. And it’s not even to get relief from the economic sanctions punishing though they are. The immediate goal is to make sure that Donald Trump doesn’t touch the nuclear cooperation agreements that they have with third parties.”
He said that the latest tensions with Teheran started after a decision by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo to revoke the waiver that allows Iran to export enriched uranium to Russia and heavy water to Oman. “These are seven such waivers that the United States had been issuing, and it revoked two of them,” said Doran.

“They have international agreements, partnerships, with Russia, China, and Europeans on each one of these major aspects of their nuclear program. Those international partnerships are vital to them. It gives them international legitimacy against the maximum pressure campaign of Donald Trump, and that’s what they’re trying to save. They’re afraid that Trump is going to take those waivers away and then they’ll lose their international partnerships. These are the guardians of the JCPOA. That’s their number one goal. Sitting down with Trump means they have to negotiate with him across the board. That would look like a capitulation to them at this point.”

He added that another significant difference between the two cases is that Kim is trying “to keep doors open” by keep negotiating with the US, while the Iranians might feel it’s better for them to wait. “Most of the Democrats are talking about returning to the JCPOA if they’re elected President. If you’re Ali Khamenei, and you’re watching American politics and all the Democrats are saying, ‘I’m going to go back through JCPOA If I’m elected,’ then that means that Iran can get all of the sanctions lifted without making any concessions in that event,” he said.

“They’re not going to make major concessions to Donald Trump at this stage when they might get everything without negotiating. They’re going to try to limp along and pass the election and then see if he’s still in power. If he’s still in power, then they’ll likely sit down with them and try to come to some agreement.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post