Of Penguins And A Nuclear Iran: Will Trump Scrap "The Deal"?

Netanyahu: "Penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white."

Trump: "I have decided...I'll let you know."

Rouhani: "Iran's defense capacities are only a deterrent."

President Trump has been notoriously hard to read when it comes to high stakes foreign policy issues. On Wednesday he told the media, "I have decided" concerning whether he'll scrap the Iran nuclear deal, though not actually indicating what he's decided. But will the US really unilaterally pull out? Like with Trump's backing off of regime change in Syria even after bombing the country last April, will Trump's bark be harsher than his bite on the Iran nuclear deal?"

In his UN General Assembly speech on Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had little to say on the Palestinian issue but as was expected blasted the Iran nuclear deal. President Trump, speaking earlier that morning, reiterated his words that the UN-backed deal is "an embarrassment" while echoing Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric, calling out Iran as a "rogue nation" along with North Korea and Venezuela. Multiple observers reported a visibly elated Netanyahu, who in his address seized on the momentum to say of Trump's speech that, "none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today," and added, “together we can seize the opportunities for peace, and together we can confront the great dangers of Iran.”

Trump hinted as he's done many times before that the six nation brokered deal negotiated under Obama, would be nixed. Trump said of Iran, “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” and continued further with,  “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”  

Spoof image of the Israeli Prime Minister's presentation at the UN which went viral inside both Iran and Israel soon after he made reference to penguins in the speech: "You laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong." Via Twitter

Trump went so far as to invoke rhetoric which sounded like a call for regime change: “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most,” he said. “This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters and imprison political reformers.”

The president added further that, “It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing ‘death to America,’ destruction to Israel, and ruin to many nations and leaders in this room.” Trump issued a litany of other nefarious Iranian actions in the region including support for Hezbollah, enabling Assad's survival, and fueling the crisis in Yemen.

But despite the bellicose rhetoric, common among all presidents of the past decades regarding Iran, it doesn't appear that much immediate action will be taken to revoke the deal. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CBS early on Wednesday that Trump’s words were "not a clear signal that he wants to withdraw, but it is a clear signal he is not happy with the deal, and that the United States is not safer because of it.” Like with Syria of late, it may be that Trump's bark on Iran is much harsher than his bite. 

The Israeli Prime Minister for his part, and in usual fashion during his typically colorful UN speeches, used over the top and at times comedic language to present a scenario of Iran-sponsored doom and gloom in the region should the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal be maintained. After highlighting UN "absurdities" when it comes to Israel, which he defined as its generally pro-Palestinian stance and softness on Syria when it comes to the Golan, Netanyahu painted a picture of the world that has already embraced Israel's "exceptional" abilities from fighting terrorism to technological innovation. But he then implied that the Iran deal ought to be a "black and white" while employing some interesting imagery:

After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world. One year. Six continents. Now, it’s true. I haven’t yet visited Antarctica, but one day I want to go there too because I’ve heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel. You laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong.

Though Israel's stance has always been firmly against any deal perceived as soft on Iran, some Israeli officials see Netanyahu's recent rhetoric as going too far while in actuality lacking any coherent or substantive policy vision. However, one particular item which did catch the attention of both allies and enemies was the odd penguin reference. An image spoof of Netanyahu's 2012 UN speech wherein he held up a cartoon-like bomb began going viral on social media Tuesday in both Israel and Iran. 

Netanyahu maintained Israel's position that the nuclear deal “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, but actually paves it” while calling perceived Iranian nuclear ambitions a “dark shadow” which Iran's rulers will use "to destroy my country”. He challenged the international brokers of the deal with, “Change it, or cancel it. Fix it, or nix it... Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability.”

But it is likely that President Trump is attempting to walk a fine line (despite his hawkish tone) between satisfying the aggressive lobbying attempts of Netanyahu along with the generally pro-Israel conservative base in America on the one hand, while being unwilling to unilaterally pull out of the deal on the other. The international powers backing the deal include the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany - all of which are set to meet separately on the sidelines of the General Assembly to assess progress. Recent nuclear inspections found no evidence of Iranian violations of the agreement. It is further likely that the White House sees North Korea as the greater pressing issue, and collapsing the Iran deal would signal to North Korea that any possible future negotiations with the US would prove futile.

Tehran has repeatedly affirmed its position that the existing terms of the JCPOA are non-negotiable, especially after Congress passed controversial legislation requiring Iran to limit missile testing and other activities which are not actually stipulated as part of the original deal. Iranian President Rouhani warned early this week that US abandonment of the deal would come at a "high cost" to Washington. 

On Wednesday Rouhani reacted fiercely to Trump's Tuesday speech in his own address to the UN, calling Trump a "rogue newcomer" bringing "ugly, ignorant words". Furthermore, the timing of the General Assembly meeting is sensitive - Trump must tell Congress by October 15 whether or not he plans to abide by the deal. No matter if Trump's intentions have at any point been more cautious and based in realpolitik, we are in for a whole new round of barbs traded between world leaders, and this alone could shift Trump's thinking, assuming this is still possible. At least by mid-October we will all know the deal's fate.


Brazen Heist Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:41 Permalink

Will Israel scrap the nuclear deal? Fixed it for you.Trump is ruining America's credibility and adherence to contracts....for the ideology of some self proclaimed chosen people. Zionists are using America as their preferred vehicle, they are the ultimate manipulative leeches.

Jim in MN Brazen Heist Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:50 Permalink

Middle East at peace for once, and everyone's too stupid and/or programmed to notice.Outside of Yemen and mop-up vs. ISIS, it is finally possible for ordinary folks in major cities to go about their business.Most peaceful in over a half century.No wonder all the wailing and pearl-clutching from the Clinton/McCain neolibcon traitors.They're terrified the peace may last.

In reply to by Brazen Heist

WhackoWarner Brazen Heist Wed, 09/20/2017 - 20:25 Permalink

INSANE.any person knows this is insane.  Little bullies playing with matches in the playgound. Anyone with a brain can see through this nonsense.  Follow the money like always.  Money is willing to sacrifice all human life for profit.  It has actually come to that. Time that all of humanity becomes the UN.   And stops this utter posturing madness on all sides.  Guess what it is very simple.  1% sre really only minions.  It is the .001% who control central banking....politics and governments.Israel wants their illegally occupied resource rich lands.  USA wants power everywhere and US dollar.  I know this is oversimplified.  But when it comes down to it it is bullies in the playground.  Not willing to play nice and willing to threaten all.  IT IS  a crime and all the speeches and analyses do not change it. There is a small group of powerful wealth families who want it all.  The planet. The resources and all power. All wealth.  Becoming undeniable as days go by.  cheers.

In reply to by Brazen Heist

SteveK9 Wed, 09/20/2017 - 19:03 Permalink

He cannot 'scrap' the deal.  US leaders have gotten so used to everyone following orders that Trump doesn't seem to realize that no one else is going to go along with the 'scrap'.  If he tries this it will only acclerate the ongoing efforts to reduce the importance of the dollar in international trade.  At some point 'sanctions' from the US are not going to mean shit.

European American Wed, 09/20/2017 - 19:07 Permalink

Iran is a SOVEREIGN country that doesn't meddle in other peoples business. The Zionist Pedophile Central Bankers don't like countries that the Zionist Jew Bankers can't control. It's ALL about CONTRO AND POWER. The USSA can have as many thermonuclear warheads as it wants, but whoa unto anyone who want's to join the club and not pay into the coffers. North Korea...Iran...Syria...are the real hero's of this planet. Russia is a close second. Iceland may be on the top. We're on the very bottom. What are you on, Donald?...FUCK!!!...and to think I voted for you and sang praises for you a few months back.

Chundered ever… Wed, 09/20/2017 - 19:12 Permalink

Irrelevant if nixed this year or in a few years time...it will be nixed when the time is ripe...by my reading plenty of infrastructure will need to go in before the big bang...but reputationally the US is diminishing...in the end it will have no friends and in a macabre rerun of some demented statist mythology enter the closing sequence playing for all or nothing. Hubris is a killer.

jet20 Wed, 09/20/2017 - 19:33 Permalink

You gotta love Trump saying all these things about Iran - but keeping quiet about his friends the Saudis.Those gift packages the Saudi king-terrorist handed to The Donald must have be yuuuuuge!

MK ULTRA Alpha Wed, 09/20/2017 - 19:35 Permalink

North Korea is allies with Iran. The Iranian nuclear treaty is being followed in Iran. But Iran is continuing it's nuclear weapons program using it's nuclear weapons proxy North Korea. The Americans are too late, Iranian Army, Revolutionary Guard and Iranian nuclear weapons physicist are working in North Korea. Iran supplies oil and nuclear materials like uranium to North Korea. Net Ten Yahoo threat to Russian leader Putin meant Net Ten Yahoo was going to manipulate beast of burden America to do more dirty work for Israel. Putin has no control over Iran. It is outrageous Israel expects the US to continue with the same losses and failed strategy when Israel won't use it's combat forces. We now know Israel worked to create and supply ISIS and genocide of 500K Christians in Syria. Israel engineered ISIS with CIA on the ground and Saudi/Qatar funding for a natural gas pipeline to out flank Russian gas exports to Europe through Ukraine. Net Ten Yahoo is a dangerous war criminal.

Davidduke2000 Wed, 09/20/2017 - 20:06 Permalink

I hope Iran is building serious nukes inside a mountain and suprise israel . for now it has 10 tons conventional bombs that can be dropped from planes.the next ones are 25 tons conventional bombs .

gregga777 Wed, 09/20/2017 - 22:50 Permalink

Apartheid Israel adds absolutely ZERO to American national security. In fact, Apartheid Israel has proven over and over to be a net NEGATIVE vis-a-vis American national security.

Adjusted for inflation Apartheid Israel has cost Americans at least $240 BILLION in publicly reported foreign aid. The true costs are in the $ TRILLIONS, when all costs, from wars fought on Apartheid Israel's behalf, in blood and treasure are tallied.

Now Apartheid Israel is trying to lure America into another war on their behalf, this time with Iran. It's high time that Israeli's died fighting Apartheid Israels wars instead of American kids dying fighting their wars.

gregga777 Wed, 09/20/2017 - 22:56 Permalink

There is a Great or World Power Paradox:

To be a Great or World Power a country must be able to fight a Great or World War. To remain a Great or World Power that country must avoid fighting a Great or World War all the while deterring potential enemies. Unfortunately, the American Intellectual Yet Idiot classes ruling morons either can't, don't, won't or refuse to understand that paradox.

Teddy Roosevelt said, "Walk softly and carry a big stick." Today's American leaders say, "Stomp around and bluster a lot while holding a limp dick." America, the nation with the second largest arsenal of deliverable atomic and thermonuclear weapons (~6,900) has lost its deterrence ability.

The Clinton Administration poo-poohed the thought that North Korea would ever develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. So, they canceled Missile Defense systems and fiddled while the North Koreans single-mindedly pursued their weapons programs.

The Bush Administration pursued disastrous pre-emptive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, countries with absolutely no capability of threatening America, wasting vast amounts of blood and treasure and any remaining American goodwill worldwide.

The Obama Administration skedaddled out of Iraq and Afghanistan, made threats about imaginary lines in the Syrian sands that they weren't prepared to act on, God only knows why they bombed the shit out of Libya and murdered Muamar Qaddafi, overthrew the democratically-elected government of Ukraine and installed the Ukro-Nazi's into power and moved NATO right to the borders of the Russian Federation.

The Trump Administration makes so many empty threats to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea that unfortunately there isn't anyone, anywhere takes them seriously.

The Russian Federation shares an 18-mile long border with the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). Russia doesn't want nuclear weapons going off in North Korea so close to their own borders. China with an ~800-mile long border with North Korea doesn't want that either. I rather doubt that Russia or China wants nuclear armed and American-aligned South Korea, Japan and/or Taiwan so close to their own borders in addition to India and Pakistan.

Empty threats made over issues that have no bearing on American national security are both insane and counterproductive. Needlessly antagonizing China and Russia over such issues removes them from any diplomatic solution to the problem of a nuclear-armed North Korea and/or Iran.