The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the agreement concluded by P5 states along with Germany with Iran in 2015, on the Iranian nuclear question, seems to be in danger of unravelling.

By repeatedly calling it the “worst deal ever negotiated”, US President-elect Donald Trump may have opened the door for his hawkish administration to join hands with extremist members of Congress, who want to upend the deal and return to an interventionist foreign policy course in the region.

The agreement was concluded following intensive diplomatic efforts of the six major powers, along with Iran. Both sides had to climb down from their early posturing to conclude a comprehensive framework which was both far reaching and realistic.

On Iran’s part, the motivating factor was the severe economic impact of western sanctions, crippling the energy, shipping and banking sectors.

On the other hand, the US administration saw the potentially ravaging consequences of pressing a military campaign against Iran, with little prospect of bringing Iran to its knees, as the result of such an intervention.

These compulsions ultimately led to the emergence of an acceptable framework, requiring Iran to abandon most of its nuclear program (involving both uranium and plutonium routes), under a set of rigid, closely monitored and internationally supervised agreements. This was one of the rare occasions when major powers had reached a consensus on an issue, affecting international peace and security.

Importantly, the accord was unanimously endorsed by both the IAEA and the UN Security Council, providing

it with unprecedented international legitimacy and backing.

International sanctions against Iran, including those imposed by the EU, and some, though not all, by the US, were lifted. This naturally entailed the gradual return of the sate proceeds of Iranian oil, which were frozen by the US for years.

The US Congress, however did not agree to lift many of the other punitive sanctions which were imposed on Iran, on account of alleged support for terrorism, abuse of human rights and possession of ballistic missiles. The sale of passenger aircraft to Iran has also been reportedly been stopped.

The nuclear agreement has been largely complied with by Iran, with an extraordinary regime of monitoring and inspections by the IAEA.

Under the circumstances, the threat to rescind the agreement, reflected in statements of Mr Trump, but also some of his nominated national security team, is a sign of extremely poor judgment. It could lead to a huge international crisis, in a region which is already riven by religious, ideological and geopolitical conflicts, foreign military interventions, state failures and civil wars.

It will obviously cause a serious US rift with the EU, and exacerbate divisions and differences with both Russia and China. It will also bring the US in confrontation with the UN Security Council and the international community. In the long run, it will lead Iran to abandon the pledges it had made on the nuclear question.

Apart from encouraging chauvinistic lobbies in the US, it will also allow renewed war-mongering by extremist elements within Israel.

Pakistan had rightly welcomed the deal when it was concluded, as it met the basic parameters of our polices, and conformed to our regional interests and long-standing position. This was despite the fact that Saudi Arabia had come out in strong opposition to any compromise with Iran on the nuclear Issue.

As a country directly affected by any further degradation of regional security that any overturning of the agreement is almost certainly going to cause, we must take a principled position, and oppose a dangerous precedent being set by the United States in terms of international norms and practice, and in disregard for its ramifications.