President Donald Trump plans to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal as early as next week. Trump argues that the Obama-era pact, which was forged in 2015, for the purpose of providing Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for limits to its nuclear program, is not in the best interest of the U.S. moving forward. Trump intends to go forward with a congressional review period on the accord, according to two senior U.S. officials.
The officials, 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.
Trump had been weighing whether the pact, which he has called an “embarrassment,” serves U.S. security interests and now appears to have decided that it does not.
At present time, Trump is scheduled to reveal his plan a week from Thursday, though one official cautioned the timing could shift. Trump has until October 15 to tell Congress if he believes Iran is complying with the seven-nation pact, which gave Iran billions of dollars of sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.
The deadline is part of the Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which also states the president must tell Congress whether suspension of sanctions remains vital to the national security interests of the United States.
The decision, which was first reported by the Washington Post, stops short of completely scrapping the Iran deal, which Trump railed against on the campaign trail. By decertifying the deal, Trump would kick the matter to Congress, which would then have 60 days to determine what is to come.
Trump has long criticized the pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, which was signed in 2015 by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union, and Iran. Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress have also expressed their displeasure with the deal, whereas the other powers that signed it strongly support it.
Supporters say its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions, while opponents say it went too far in easing sanctions without requiring that Iran end its nuclear program permanently.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday the president had decided what he would like to do about the agreement and would announce it in due time.
“The President’s team has presented a united strategy that the national security team all stands behind and supports.”
The move also would represent another step by Trump that would undo key parts of Obama’s legacy.
Iran’s leader, Hassan Rouhani, believes America will lose trust and credibility if it goes through with the decertification of the nuclear deal.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]