Donald Trump will announce next week that he will “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal, but will stop short of declaring US withdrawal from the July 2015 agreement between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers, according to “people briefed on the White House strategy”.
Trump’s decision will effectively pass the issue of next American steps to Congress, which could choose to impose sweeping US sanctions against the Islamic Republic which have been suspended by the deal and previous certifications of Iranian compliance.
Twice this year Trump has certified Iran’s adherence, which has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, but he has always wanted to depart what he called a “bad deal” before and after his election. At the UN last month, he proclaimed the agreement an “embarrassment” to the US as he railed against the “corrupt dictatorship” of the Islamic Republic.
The deadline for recertification, under Congressional legislation, is October 15.
Trump’s statement at a meeting with military leaders on Thursday night:
Trump’s national security team, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and top commanders reportedly do not favor withdrawal. Earlier this week Mattis effectively told a Congressional hearing that legislators do not have to renew sanctions, even if Trump decertified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Possibly because of this line from Trump’s advisors, “four people familiar with aspects of the president’s thinking” said he will hold off on recommending the reimposition of sanctions.
Trump is set to deliver a speech, tentatively scheduled for October 12, of America’s revised approach to Iran.
Iranian officials, including President Rouhani, have said that Tehran could quickly return to enrichment of 20% uranium if the US withdraws from the agreement also including the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China. However, the emphasis in the Rouhani Government’s approach has been on separating European powers from Washington.
US officials have said they will seek consensus with the other powers on revising the deal, including extension of its 10- to 15-year terms and inclusion of Iran’s ballistic missile program. However, Iran has ruled out any renegotiation, Russia and China are unlikely to ever accept a revision, France has said discussions will not be reopened, and even Britain has expressed doubts.
An “Iran analyst” who met administration officials said that Trump will still promote a “transatlantic understanding” about reopening or supplementing the deal in his speech.
Iran Proclaims EU & Russia Split from US
Iranian State media is loudly proclaiming that the European Union as well as Russia is standing firmly for the JCPOA.
Press TV headlines, “Russia, EU Signal Parting Ways with US on Iran Deal”. The article features the remarks of a spokeswoman for the European Commission:
It is a durable, long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue which gives all sides the necessary assurances and we expect all sides to stick to their commitments under the deal.