TEHRAN (Press Shia) – An American author and the technology editor at Executive Intelligence Review in Washington, DC, described the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers as a “strategic policy commitment”, noting that walking out of the deal would have “many strategic consequences”.
“I think that unlike the Paris climate accord, there are people who recognize that the Iran nuclear agreement is a strategic policy commitment, with many strategic consequences, should it be cancelled,” Marsha Freeman told the Press Shia News Agency in an interview.
Marsha Freeman was born in New York City and was educated at Queens College and Columbia University. She is the author of hundreds of articles on the US space program and has been published in Fusion Magazine, Executive Intelligence Review, 21st Century Science & Technology, Acta Astronautica, Space World, New Federalist newspaper, Science Books & Films, Space Governance Journal, The World & I, Quest, The Encyclopedia of the Midwest, and many other periodicals. In 1993 she authored the acclaimed book “How We Got to the Moon: The Story of the German Space Pioneers” and then in 2000 she authored “Challenges of Human Space Exploration.” She has been a witness before the United States Congress at hearings on science, energy, space, and transportation budgets and policies.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Press Shia: Both on his campaign trail and after the presidential election in early 2017, Trump threatened to “scrap” the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His administration has put Iran “on notice” over its missile tests and imposed new sanctions, while it has ordered a review of the historic accord with Tehran that limits the country’s nuclear program. It seems that Trump is looking for pretexts to scuttle the deal. Do you believe so? If yes, why?
Freeman: I would be cautious about drawing conclusions about the President's intentions toward Iran, and the nuclear agreement. There have been a number of personnel changes from the White House. Some of the most aggressive promoters of confrontation with Iran, such as Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon, are no longer in the Administration. And despite some of President Trump's public remarks, there have been more measured statements by other Administration officials. I do not think the President is looking for a pretext to cancel the agreement, but I do think he wants assurances that the stipulations in the agreement are being met, in order to satisfy the critics that are calling for a cancellation.
Press Shia: Reports suggest that President Trump, frustrated that his national security aides have not given him any options on how the United States can leave the Iran nuclear deal, has instructed them to find a rationale for declaring that the country is violating the terms of the accord. What do you think?
Freeman: There have been no documented violations of the nuclear accord by the US, the UN, or the other parties to the agreement. Tension arises around missile technology and missile tests, and this is, in a certain way, a gray area of the agreement. All rocket and space technology is dual use. Iran, as a sovereign state, is entirely entitled to pursue a space program, as it has done. To have included in the nuclear agreement a stipulation that rockets capable of carrying a nuclear warhead would be banned created an ambiguity. This can only be clarified through discussions and coming to an understanding of what is a violation. Neither side can make up rules as it goes along.
Press Shia: American officials have reportedly told allies they should be prepared to join in reopening negotiations with Iran or expect that the United States may abandon the agreement, as it did the Paris climate accord. And according to several foreign officials, the United States has begun raising with international inspectors in Vienna the possibility of demanding access to military sites in Iran. Why is the new administration seeking to bring to the negotiating table again? How do you think Iran and other parties to the deal should react?
Freeman: I think Iran should react to these instigations with an abundance of patience, as the policy is still in flux. As in the case with other sensitive and contentious international issues, public statements and private discussions can be quite different. I think that unlike the Paris climate accord, there are people who recognize that the Iran nuclear agreement is a strategic policy commitment, with many strategic consequences, should it be cancelled.
I believe that global strategic and economic relationships are changing. The Belt and Road initiative from China, involving the participation of more than 60 nations, will supersede the dominance of the United States and Europe as the world driver of economic, political, and scientific development. Iran is an important element in this global infrastructure initiative. The future for the US and other legacy industrial nations will depend upon their joining and contributing to this world-wide project. It will be within that context that the relations among nations will be defined.