Iranian president warns Trump not to isolate United States

Violet Powell
October 13, 2017

European officials expressed relief that the White House speech did not appear to represent an United States abrogation of the 2015 deal, which they had intensively lobbied against since it became clear over recent months that Trump did not want to continue to certify the deal to Congress.

Trump, who has been sharply critical of Iran and accused Tehran of working with North Korea on lethal weapons, faces an October 15 deadline on whether to certify to Congress that Iran is compliance with the terms of the nuclear agreement.

President Donald Trump finds himself under huge pressure as he considers de-certifying the global nuclear deal with Iran, a move that would ignore warnings from inside and outside his administration that to do so would risk undermining USA credibility. Many will not even discuss what congressional debate might follow if Trump decertifies, instead focusing the arguments for certification. Under a new version being negotiated with Congress, he would have to endorse the deal less frequency but the U.S. intelligence community would have to assess whether Iran is carrying out covert activity in facilities not visited by the IAEA.

European officials have categorically ruled out renegotiating the deal, but have said they share Trump's concerns over Iran's destabilizing influence in the Middle East. "Decertifying Iranian compliance without cause risks the unraveling of the JCPOA and could leave Iran able to advance its nuclear capabilities without restriction or strict verification". Iran has said it may exit the deal if the USA withdraws.

Mr. Trump's advisers also refused to present him with a thoughtful Iran deal exit strategy drafted by Ambassador John Bolton or to let Bolton meet with the president to brief this option. The middle ground that these options supposedly represent is an illusion - their sole goal is to ensure that President Trump never withdraws from an agreement he has correctly called an embarrassment to the United States.

In exchange, UN, US and European Union sanctions were to be gradually removed from Iran. He called Trump's move to kick the deal to Congress a "trap" and "a tactic meant to reach the president's goal of tearing the deal apart". "We may have to array our forces to prepare for. calibrated strikes".

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The certification would also demand that the intelligence community produce judgments on a wide range of Iranian behaviour that is not covered by the nuclear deal, including ballistic missile testing and development, support for Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and Syrian President Bashar Assad and threats to Israel and the Mideast more broadly, according to the drafts.

Trump will use an executive order to declare Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organisation. She said, "It is not a deal you can easily open and renegotiate".

Drafts of two proposals seen by The Associated Press, one from Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker and one from committee member and harsh deal critic Senator Tom Cotton, would expand the United States certification criteria to include items that are also the province of the UN nuclear watchdog and require the USA intelligence community to determine if Iran is carrying out illicit activity in facilities to which the International Atomic Energy Agency does not have access.

What happens if Trump decertifies the deal? If those sanctions are put back into place, the JCPOA would be considered breached.

"Congress and the administration need to be on the same page, and a major breakdown in the working relationship between one of the very few key Republicans on the Hill who works with Democrats and the president on Iran policy bodes very poorly", said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former Treasury Department official now at the Center for a New American Security.

Why does U.S. President Donald Trump want to scrap it? Those provisions relate to enriching uranium to levels near those needed to produce the fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as other activities that limit Iran's atomic capabilities at various sites.

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