President Donald Trump just went against the advice of every single one of his national security advisers and has mentioned secretly that he intends to decertify Iran’s nuclear agreement.
Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis are even urging Trump to not do it. If he does, it would allow Iran to begin producing uranium, which it can’t-do now.
Under terms of the deal, they would have had to wait 13 years, but instead, they will be able to begin right away. Iran has already said they will if the deal is pulled. That would be a nightmare and reverse years of hard work done by the Obama administration for middle east stability.
He has made no secret of this. Just two weeks ago, he called the historic Obama agreement “embarrassing to the United States,” after campaigning vigorously against it during the 2016 presidential election.
Once Trump decertifies it, a Republican Congress will then decide whether or not to implement economic sanctions, and if the deal should even remain in place.
One of Trump’s biggest allies and supporters is Senator Tom Cotton. He’s been working closely with the president, helping him to devise a new strategy for the country.
“Congress and the president, working together, should lay out how the deal must change and, if it doesn’t, the consequences Iran will face,” Mr. Cotton said
Cotton, known as a tough hard-liner on Iran, and an influential Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if you don’t remember, was the same guy a few years back that opposed Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran.
When initially speaking out against the “bad deal” he said one of the reasons for that was because Iran “already controls Tehran.” He got a lot of heat for that comment because as everyone knows, Tehran is the capital of Iran. It looks like Senator Cotton doesn’t even know basic geography, let alone middle east politics. Now he’s advising President Trump on the region.
“Well as Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu said, the alternative to a bad deal is a better deal. The Iranians frequently bluff to walk away from the table. If they bluff this week, call their bluff. The Congress stands ready to impose much more severe sanctions. Moreover we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran increasingly they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad and now Sana’a as well. They do all that without a nuclear weapon. Imagine what they would do with a nuclear weapon.”
If Trump does go through with the decertification, key allies of the United States have already warned Trump will be going alone, and will not have their support. They, like Trump’s security advisers, think he is jeopardizing national security.
“For us, this is a high priority in our national security,” said Peter Wittig, Germany’s ambassador to Washington. “We will stand by the Iran deal, and we want you not to walk away, but to comply with it. We share some of the grievances you have about Iran, and we can talk about it — and we should talk about it — but only on the basis of sticking to the deal.”
The other thing that could be happening here is Trump is playing politics. Trump has already certified the deal twice since being president (saying Iran is in compliance) but now he is saying they aren’t “sticking to the spirit of the deal.” He may just be doing this so he can say to his loyal supporters that he stuck to his campaign promise, leaving Congress to do the dirty work of keeping the deal in place. That’s risky because every Republican member of Congress voted against the deal when it originally happened.
Philip Gordon, who was a part of the National Security Council during the Obama years, said that’s precisely what he thinks could be happening now.
“The administration may hope Congress refrains from passing new sanctions that cause the nuclear deal to collapse, (but) no one can guarantee that outcome.”
In the meantime, Iran is openly talking about having enriched uranium back. They are ready to start building a nuclear weapon if Trump goes through with his actions.
“Are you prepared to return to us 10 tons of enriched uranium?” Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said a few days ago.
Trump just put the U.S. on a very murky path, indeed.