Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump again blasts Iran nuke deal as certification decision looms

Trump again blasts Iran nuke deal as certification decision looms

"We need to work with allies and partners on a shared agenda that holds the regime in Iran accountable, not dividing America from our closest friends across the globe", Engel said.

"Withholding certification would be a distraction from the real issues ... and it's playing with fire", Engel said, adding that the move would be viewed by Iran and countries around the world as the first step toward withdrawing from the deal.

"As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it", the California Republican said while speaking at a hearing on how to best counter threats posed by Iran.

But despite concerns over decertifying the deal, some lawmakers said the move could allow Congress to address some of the current agreement's shortcomings.

It gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program in a bid to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Trump faces an October 15 deadline mandated by law to tell Congress if he believes Iran is complying with the nuclear accord and if it advances US interests.

Congressional leaders were briefed on the plan Wednesday, and Trump is expected to announce it to the public on either Thursday or Friday.

Officials familiar with the internal deliberations as well as informed sources outside the administration say they do not believe Trump will call for Congress to reinstate the sanctions. Also, they said nixing certification of the Iran deal and trying to renegotiate it will discourage North Korea from ever considering a denuclearization accord. "That ship has sailed", according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Trump's national security team, and all serious thinkers in Congress, must block the President from a failed certification before it is too late". Tom Cotton, would expand the US certification criteria to include items that are also the province of the United Nations 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.

Engel said at the hearing that killing the deal would be a "grave mistake", since it is in place and backed by USA allies and other powers.

More than 180 House Democrats sent a letter to Trump last week calling on him to certify compliance unless he could produce "credible evidence of a material breach by Iran".

Congress was broadly opposed to the deal two years ago, but it's not clear that's the case anymore. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

He has criticised the agreement's "sunset clauses", under which some restrictions on Iran's nuclear programme would expire over time.

Rosenberg said decertification would effectively open a 60-day window for Congress to consider sanctions on Iran.

If Iran were to begin reinstalling its centrifuges and rebuilding its plutonium reactors, they would be able to begin rapidly expanding toward nuclear capability within a few years, said Jake Sullivan, a former top foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton who worked on negotiating the original deal in 2015. He still has concerns with how the accord will contain Iran in the future, but he doesn't want the pact ditched. "We don't want to see the United States violate it".

Like this: