Trump Says He’d Be Iran’s Best Friend If Iran Renounced Nuclear Arms

Iran has renounced nuclear weapons many times over past several years

The US makes a lot of demands to a lot of countries. Sometimes these are not very practical, and in the case of Iran, they are rarely the sort of thing the US really expects to get.

President Trump announced on Saturday that he would be Iran’s “best friend” and the country could be wealthy, but only if they renounced nuclear weapons. He added when Iran agrees to never have nuclear weapons “they’re going to be so happy.”

That demand puts Trump in a difficult position, because he has no means to make Iran wealthy, and clearly no intention of being their best friend. And that’s a problem, because he’s already gotten what he wants, many times over, for many years.

In October 2003, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a public fatwa ruling out Iran ever producing nuclear weapons, declaring them haram (forbidden) under religious law.

That wasn’t a one-off statement, either. Iran made an official statement to the IAEA in 2005 saying effectively the same thing, and throughout the decade that followed, including the negotiations of the P5+1 nuclear deal, Iranian officials and leadership issued countless statements rejecting the idea of ever seeking nuclear arms.

For US officials, it has long been convenient to pretend this myriad of statements never happened, because it doesn’t fit in well with accusing Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. In making the demand, Trump suggests he isn’t very up to date on this aspect of Iran relations, and risks Iran reiterating the statement once again, and putting the ball in Trump’s court.

On top of that, Trump’s talk inevitably is going to lead to the obvious, that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is nowhere near having any military dimensions. Iran is currently enriching uranium to 3.6%, and has never attempted enriching above 20%. Weapons grade uranium would have to be over 90%, something Iran has never even attempted to carry out.

This reflects the unreasonableness of the US position on Iran’s nuclear program, which has never been based on reality, let alone on Iran making official statements disavowing such arms.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.