Posted by Curt on 4 October, 2017 at 4:28 pm. 8 comments already!


Adam Kredo:

The Trump administration is expected to announce next week that it will not formally certify Iran as in compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement, a move that could kill the agreement and set the stage for Congress to reimpose harsh economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, according to multiple U.S. officials and sources familiar with the situation.

While some senior Trump administration officials—including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis—are pushing for President Donald Trump to preserve the deal, it has become increasingly clear the president is frustrated with Iran’s continued tests of ballistic missile technology and rogue operations targeting U.S. forces in the region, according to these sources.

Designating Iran as in non-compliance with the deal would loosen restrictions on how the United States can target Tehran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, which has been the main entity behind Iran’s military operations in Syria and elsewhere in the region. It also would allow the administration to save face in the short-term by not technically walking away from the agreement.

The final nail in the coffin, these sources said, was the recent admission by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, that it cannot fully assess whether Iran is working on sensitive nuclear explosive technology due to restrictions on inspections and specific sites in the Islamic Republic.

This disclosure has roiled congressional opponents of the deal and is said to have finally pushed the Trump administration to stop certifying Iran as in compliance with the deal, a decision which must be made by Oct. 15.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a vocal opponent of the deal, told the Washington Free Beacon that Trump has no option but to decertify Iran and allow Congress to enact harsh penalties that could lay the groundwork for the entire agreement to be scrapped or renegotiated.

“The IAEA’s admission that they are unable to verify a fundamental provision under the nuclear deal—that the Iranians are not engaging in activities or using equipment to develop a nuclear explosive device—is highly alarming. In these circumstances, issuing a compliance certification would be serious mistake,” Cruz said.

“If the Iranians are serious about a peaceful program, they need to prove it. Iran’s continued refusal to allow IAEA access to military sites—a clear requirement of the terms of the deal—renders the JCPOA utterly ineffective, and, even worse, a sham that only facilitates Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons,” Cruz said. “This absence of any meaningful verification is yet another reason to vitiate this foolhardy agreement.”

Senior congressional officials working on the matter told the Free Beacon that recertification should be off the table. Attempts by some Trump administration officials to argue in favor of preserving the deal are no longer valid, these sources said.

“This should be the final nail in the coffin for recertification,” said one senior congressional aide intimately familiar with how the issue is being worked on in Congress. “In what universe would Iran need nuclear explosive devices if its leadership has truly abandoned its pursuit of nuclear weapons?”

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