Trump torches Obama’s Iran, health­care lega­cies

De­cer­ti­fies N-Deal With Tehran, Calls It A Fa­nat­i­cal Regime

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES GLOBAL -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day con­tin­ued torch­ing his pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama’s prin­ci­pal lega­cies, derail­ing the epony­mous Obamacare health in­sur­ance law and the Iran nu­clear deal. Trump did not go as far as he had pledged dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, when he had promised to fully scrap both of Obama’s sig­na­ture achieve­ments, but his dis­rup­tive moves could ef­fec­tively de­stroy them.

In health­care, he scrapped the sub­si­dies deemed es­sen­tial to the over­all co­her­ence and sur­vival of Obamacare, and with the Iran deal, he de­cer­ti­fied it and sent it back to the Congress with an in­ten­tion to make it even harder on Iran, a move most ex­perts say could kill the agree­ment.

“Based on the fac­tual record I have put for­ward, I am an­nounc­ing to­day that we can­not and will not make this cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,” Trump said. “To­day I am an­nounc­ing our strat­egy along with sev­eral ma­jor steps we’re tak­ing to con­front the Ira­nian regime’s hos­tile ac­tions and to en­sure that Iran never — and I mean never — ac­quires a nu­clear weapon,” Trump said. He also con­demned Iran as a fa­nat­i­cal regime and and ac­cused it of spon­sor­ing ter­ror­ism.

Trump said the deal was too le­nient and Iran had been al­lowed to ex­ceed heavy-wa­ter lim­its and in­tim­i­date in­ter­na­tional in­spec­tors. Iran, he said, was “not liv­ing up to spirit of the deal” but was re­ceiv­ing the ben­e­fit of sanc­tions re­lief re­gard­less. He also an­nounced “tough sanc­tions” on Iran Guards. He went on to sug­gest that Iran might be work­ing with North Korea on its weapon pro­grammes, an ac­cu­sa­tion that has not been sub­stan­ti­ated.

The move is likely to in­crease ten­sion with Iran as well as put Wash­ing­ton at odds with other sig­na­to­ries of the ac­cord such as Bri­tain, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia, China and the Euro­pean Union. If the other par­ties re­ject the United States de­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, then it will widen their al­ready sub­stan­tial rift with Wash­ing­ton; if they go along with US, there is the risk of Iran go­ing the North Korea way.

The jet­ti­son­ing of the Iran deal is likely to also have a cas­cad­ing ef­fect across in the re­gion and be­yond, in­clud­ing in New Delhi, where In­dian strate­gists had counted on eas­ing of ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Tehran for the even­tual ben­e­fit of all three pow­ers in Afghanistan, be­sides lu­bri­cat­ing In­dia-Iran eco­nomic ties.

In­stead, ex­perts wor­ried about what mes­sage Trump’s new Iran gam­bit — pur­port­edly powered by his Jewish sonin-law Jared Kush­ner and in­flu­enced by hard­line Is­raeli ele­ments — would have. “This risky gam­bit will un­der­mine US cred­i­bil­ity and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s abil­ity to man­age fur­ther nu­clear de­vel­op­ments in Iran, North Korea and other places down the line for years,” Vali Nasr, an Iran ex­pert and dean of Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity’s School of Ad­vanced In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, wrote in a com­men­tary, warn­ing that “Iran is not look­ing for war with the US…But it is start­ing to think that it is bet­ter to act like North Korea.”

Trump now ex­pects law­mak­ers to im­pose new sanc­tions even though most ac­counts sug­gest Tehran has kept its part of the bar­gain. He warned that if “we are not able to reach a so­lu­tion work­ing with Congress and our al­lies, then the agree­ment will be ter­mi­nated.”

Trump has long trashed the Iran agree­ment as un­fairly ben­e­fit­ing Tehran while dam­ag­ing US se­cu­rity in­ter­ests in the re­gion. Al­though he did give a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to the Obama era deal this past sum­mer, Trump had warned his na­tional se­cu­rity team to re­vise it if they did not want it torched. In the end, he bent them to his will, but the fear is Iran will now bail out of the deal if harsher con­di­tions are im­posed, given that North Korea has demon­strated per­sis­tence in de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons could even­tu­ally pay off. (With in­puts from agen­cies)

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