In a move that could possibly lead to a gradual collapse of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump is planning to announce next week that he would ‘decertify’ the deal and toss the prickly issue into the court of US Congress, which would then have 60 days to decide what to do.
Trump, who has all along attacked his predecessor Barack Obama’s administration for having negotiated an ‘embarrassing’ deal along with five other world powers, plans to declare that the pact is not in the US national interest, The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing persons briefed on the White House strategy.
Trump, however, was expected to refrain from recommending that Congress reimpose the Iran sanctions, thus staving off a move that could immediately trigger the unravelling of the deal. President Obama had lifted the crippling sanctions, paving the way for implementation of the deal that was reached between Iran and the P-5 powers (the US, Britain, China, France and Russia) plus Germany in July 2015.
There is no official word yet on the decertification plan and The Post, citing unnamed officials, spoke of the possibility that Trump’s plans could still change. Michael Anton, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, confined himself to saying, “The administration looks forward to sharing details of our Iran strategy at the appropriate time.”
Under the US law on the subject, the White House is required to notify Congress every 90 days whether Iran is in compliance with the terms of the accord and whether the agreement remains in the US national security interest. Since assumption of office, Trump has certified he deal twice and the next deadline is October 15.
If the President does not certify the agreement, the Congress then has a statutory 60-day period to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.
In enforcement of the accord that is backed by the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency has periodically determined that Iran is meeting its obligations.
Significantly, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed qualified support for the deal during congressional testimony this week. Gen. Mattis also indicated that decertification need not spell the end of the deal.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that he and other top national security aides would be presenting a couple of options to Trump and make a recommendation to him.
Trump also caused raised eyebrows while taking photos with the military leaders and their spouses with an off-the-cuff comment that it was “the calm before the storm”.
Source: News agencies