By Jonathan Granoff
Published in The Hill
The Trump Administration has just walked away from the United States’ commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known in the American media as “the Iran Deal.”
But it’s not an informal “deal;” it’s a formal international agreement, endorsed by the Security Council of the United Nations, full of rigorous safeguards, duties, terms and conditions crafted through sophisticated, smart diplomatic hard work on the part of the international community. It can’t be easily set aside without undermining the UN, the international community, and the U.S. Constitution.
One of the dangers recognized by the drafters of the Constitution was that short-term partisan interests of a populist nature, or an individual state, could encourage overturning complex or unpopular treaties entered into by the government of the United States. This led to the inclusion of the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution, which stats that “all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”
One fully ratified treaty the United States is bound by is the United Nations Charter. The so-called “Iran Deal” was formally endorsed by the Security Council of the United Nations, the correct international organ to approve the JCPOA. In throwing it out, not only has the Trump administration disregarded its allies and friends, it has diminished the weight of the UN system, and thus the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, and thus one of the foundations of the United States. This is a serious matter indeed.
By pulling out of the deal, the United States violated an international agreement it solemnly entered into, putting it in a class with nations that pointedly disrespect international cooperation, the rule of law, peace, and nuclear nonproliferation.