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Report: Trump to 'decertify' the Iran nuclear deal
What exactly does that mean?
It's not a complete pullout from the deal, which is an option for Trump if he wants to take it. But it's a meaningful move in that direction.
Every 90 days, the deal requires the president to certify whether Iran is in compliance with the deal. Up until now, every such certification since Trump took office has indicated that Iran was in compliance. Surprising? It may seem that way at first, but the likely explanation is that Trump doesn't want to certify Iran's lack of compliance until he can build a strong case to prove it.
According to reports over the past 24 hours, Trump now believes that time has come:
President Donald Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a senior administration official said on Thursday, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel.
Trump has been weighing whether the pact, which he has called an “embarrassment,” serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with it.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump is also expected to roll out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticized Iran’s conduct in the Middle East.
If Trump declines to certify Iran’s compliance, U.S. congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.
Now as always, we don't know who the source for this story is, so it's impossible to say how much in the know this person may or may not be. He or she may have an agenda, or just be totally full of crap.
It's also possible that the leaker described the new Trump policy as "more confrontational" as a way to test it in the media, either for good or for ill. But regardless, it has seemed since Trump took office that he was moving in this direction.
To decertify Iran's compliance is not to fully withdraw from the deal, but it would force Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions. Given the state of our current Congress, that could be a heavy lift, as this Congress doesn't seem to have the ability to get anything at all done - if only because four pretend Republicans named McCain, Collins, Murkowski and Paul make sure every meaningful Republican-sponsored bill dies a slow and painful death.
But even if the U.S. doesn't reimpose sanctions, Trump could still pull us out of the deal. It was never ratified as a treaty, although Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker helped Obama out by agreeing to a dumbass procedure by which Congress could not disapprove it without a two-thirds vote. That has to have been the dumbest thing Congress has ever done, and that's saying something. Even so, it didn't give the deal the force of law a treaty would have. It's strictly an executive agreement between America's president and the Iranian regime. Trump is free to withdraw from it if he likes.
And he should. He was right when he ripped the deal during the campaign. It is every bit as bad as he said it was, and it virtually guarantees that Iran will have nuclear weapons within the decades, despite the Orwellian insistences to the contrary by Obama and John Kerry. If Trump feels he has to go through this process to set the stage for a full pullout, that's fine by me. As long as he follows through and ultimately get out of the deal. Nothing else really does the job.
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