Campaigning to “tear up” the July 14, 2015 Iranian Nuke Deal, 71-year-old President Donald Trump looks poised to “de-certify” the agreement, letting Congress decide what to do. Motivating the original deal was the U.S. belief that Iran was enriching weapons grade uranium, something Iran denies. Yet when the P5+1, including, U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany, approved the deal July 14, 2015, it was the U.S., under former President Barack Obama, that delivered $1.7 billion in cash to the Iranian regime. Lifting $150 billion in frozen Iranian assets and ending punitive sanctions restricting Iranian oil sales made the deal attractive to Tehran. “We have received benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump nor 10 other Trumps,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Iranian State TV while addressing students at Tehran University.
Trump and other Republicans complained that Obama essentially bribed Tehran into accepting a one-sided nuke deal, where the U.S. got virtually nothing in exchange for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. P5+1 wanted Iran to stop enriching uranium, suspecting, despite Tehran’s denials, that it was working on an A-bomb. Negotiated for two years between former Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, the agreement was supposed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] unfettered access to Iran’s enrichment sites. Yet Iran refused to allow [IAEA] inspectors into sensitive military sites where either design-or-enrichment continues to go on. “If the United States violates (the nuclear deal), the entire world will condemn America, not Iran,” said Rouhani, expecting Trump to do something to reverse the agreement.
Speaking to the nation. Oct. 12, Trump looks to de-certify the agreement, causing ripples in the U.N. and European Union. None of the P5+1 coughed up any cash for Iran except the U.S., making the deal look one-sided. Accepting curbs on its nuclear enrichment program for 10 years, Iran essentially admitted that it was indeed working on and A-bomb. Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif had some harsh words for Trump. “I think it is an ill-informed statement [Trump’s] because certainly, any deal would not be a perfect deal for all sides; it has to be less than perfect so all sides can live with it,” said Zarif, disputing the idea that Iran got the better end of the deal. Zarif said if Trump de-certifies the deal and tries to impose new sanctions, it would breach the contract prompting Iran to back out of the deal. If Iran reneges, it would immediately ramp up its nuclear enrichment activities.
Trump plans to tell the American public Oct. 12 that the Iran Nuke Deal is not in the national security interests of the United States. Trump accused Iran Sept. 19 at the U.N. General Assembly of sponsoring terrorism around the Mideast and North Africa. Trump plans to de-certify the agreement, not pulling out per se, but turning the matter over to Congress where a determined House and Senate GOP hope to reverse the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “They [U.S. leaders] have immunized us to U.S. sanctions. From a global perspective, it would seem the United States is addicted to sanctions,” said Zarif, taking zero responsibility for Iran’s behavior. Like North Korea, Iran doesn’t think any of its nuclear activities or military involvements in Syria or Yemen warrant U.N. sanctions. U.N. Security Council voted to sanction Iran nine times from July 31, 2006 June 9, 2012 for illicit nuclear activity.
De-certifying the deal puts the onus on Congress to figure out whether Iran’s ballistic missile testing violates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Under the deal, Trump can’t impose new sanctions. Trump signed a bill Aug. 2 imposing penalties on companies supplying Iran with components to its nuke and ballistic missile program. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he battles hardliners that want to return to Iran’s full uranium enrichment program. Breaking off diplomatic relations with Tehran Jan. 3, 2016, Saudi Arabia wants no part of Iran’s foreign policy backing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Houthi rebels in Yemen. “We are willing to talk to Saudi Arabia about our differences . . We do not believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should have type of relation they have right now,” said Zarif, offering no change in Iranian foreign policy. Saudi Arabia sees Iran meddling in Mideast affairs.
Trump’s going to serve notice Oct. 12 that he sees no benefit to the U.S. staying in former President Barack Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Without verifiable inspections from the IAEA, there’s little reason to believe that Iran stopped enriching uranium or working on an A-bomb design. Backing Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen, Tehran has joined Russia in preserving the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran has no plan to reconcile with Saudi Arabia, the key sponsor of the Syrian opposition to topple al-Assad. Trump wants to see Tehran stop funding-and-arming terrorist groups like Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades busy preparing for its next war with Israel. Zarif casts Iran as the victim of U.S. aggression, much the same way North Korea’s Kim Jong-un insists the U.S. works tirelessly to topple Pyongyang.