Trump prepares to decertify landmark Iran nuclear deal

President Trump is expected to decertify the landmark Obama-era Iran nuclear deal early next week, according to multiple senior officials.

“We must not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.  The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions,” Trump told reporters gathered at the White House Thursday.

When asked directly whether he planned to decertify the accord, Trump responded that Iran hasn’t “lived up to the spirit” of the deal and a decision would be coming “very shortly.”

Mr. Trump is expected to deliver an address on foreign policy next week.  The White House faces an Oct. 15 deadline to certify to Congress Iran is fully in compliance with the agreement.

Such a move would force Congress to re-impose sanctions, sanction Iran elsewhere or do nothing.  Despite the expected move to decertify the deal, sources have said Trump has encouraged lawmakers not to re-impose sanctions.

Once described by the president as “the worst deal ever” while campaigning for the White House, the move to decertify the agreement would then trigger a 60-day window for lawmakers to determine the fate of the accord.

It is expected the White House will pursue stronger enforcement of the Iran deal’s principles, a move some Washington Democrats oppose.

“We are not participating in preemptive negotiations, with no text, based on the assumption that the president is not going to make the certification,” a senior Democratic aide said. “The maximum point of leverage to address Iran’s nefarious activities is now, before his expected terrible decision — not after, when he undermines America’s credibility to uphold its commitments with our allies and partners.”

Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Obama-era agreement signed in 2015 required Iran to eliminate and cut medium-enriched and low-enriched uranium stockpiles, reduce gas centrifuges and agree not to build heavy-water facilities.

A significant part of the agreement was Tehran allowing inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regular access to nuclear facilities.

Although Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tehran is “fundamentally” in compliance with the pact, the IAEA reported Iran has blocked inspectors from some military sites.

Despite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warning the U.S. scrapping the deal would carry a high cost, Iran recently signaled its willingness to negotiate over its ballistic missile program.


[The Telegraph] [CNN] [Reuters] [Power Line] [CNBC] [Photo courtesy]