U.S. said ready to re­cer­tify Iran ef­fort

Dead­line on con­firm­ing to Congress com­pli­ance with nu­clear agree­ment nears

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - KAREN DEYOUNG

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­cided for the sec­ond time since Jan­uary to cer­tify Ira­nian com­pli­ance with the nu­clear agree­ment that Trump has called a “dis­as­trous” deal, ac­cord­ing to U.S. and for­eign of­fi­cials.

The de­ci­sion fol­lowed what sev­eral of­fi­cials char­ac­ter­ized as heated in­ter­nal de­bate that cul­mi­nated at a prin­ci­pals com­mit­tee last week in a clash be­tween a num­ber of White House of­fi­cials and Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis.

Tiller­son has statu­tory re­spon­si­bil­ity for cer­ti­fy­ing Iran’s com­pli­ance to Congress ev­ery 90 days, a dead­line that falls on Mon­day. Some White House of­fi­cials and law­mak­ers ar­gued that Iran has breached the deal in sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas. But Tiller­son and Mat­tis noted that in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tors and U.S. al­lies have as­sessed the op­po­site, and said that any sharp change in U.S. pos­ture should await completion of an on­go­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion re­view of over­all pol­icy to­ward Iran.

As a can­di­date and pres­i­dent, Trump said he would re-ex­am­ine and pos­si­bly aban­don the Iran nu­clear deal signed un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. The agree­ment shut down Tehran’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram, in some cases for decades, in ex­change for an eas­ing of in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion first cer­ti­fied Ira­nian com­pli­ance in April. The re­view is ex­pected to be com­pleted be­fore the next 90-day dead­line in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity about in­ter­nal de­lib­er­a­tions.

Of­fi­cials cau­tioned that Trump, who has made clear his dis­dain for the ac­cord, could de­cide not to sign off on the re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion be­tween now and the Mon­day dead­line, but said it was un­likely. The de­ci­sion to re­cer­tify was first re­ported Thurs­day by The Weekly Stan­dard.

On Tues­day, the ad­min­is­tra­tion must com­ply with a sep­a­rate dead­line, re­port­ing to Congress on Iran’s over­all nu­clear be­hav­ior and de­cid­ing whether to waive re­in­sti­tut­ing sanc­tions that were part of the deal that went into ef­fect in Jan­uary 2016. That re­port, due 180 days after Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, was part of re­stric­tions law­mak­ers put on the agree­ment, as was the 90-day cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ment.

In ad­di­tion to ques­tion­ing Iran’s com­pli­ance with the nu­clear ac­cord, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has ac­cused Iran of vi­o­lat­ing United Na­tions res­o­lu­tions re­strict­ing its de­vel­op­ment of bal­lis­tic mis­siles, and with sup­port for in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism. Even if it de­cides to re­cer­tify Ira­nian com­pli­ance and waive nu­clear sanc­tions, the ad­min­is­tra­tion could still im­pose new sanc­tions for the ter­ror­ism and mis­sile claims.

After Iran test-fired a medium-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile in late Jan­uary, in vi­o­la­tion of U.N. res­o­lu­tions, the ad­min­is­tra­tion de­clared it was putting Iran “on no­tice” that such be­hav­ior would not be tol­er­ated.

“Un­like the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, this ad­min­is­tra­tion sees the JCPOA as a symp­tom, not the dis­ease,” a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said, re­fer­ring to the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion, the deal signed in July 2015 after years of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Iran and an in­ter­na­tional group com­posed of the United States, France, Ger­many, Bri­tain, China, Rus­sia and the Euro­pean Union..

“The dis­ease is broader Ira­nian ag­gres­sion. That’s what the strat­egy re­view is fo­cused on, and un­til it’s com­plete, it’s dif­fi­cult to know what is the best res­o­lu­tion” on Iran pol­icy, the of­fi­cial said. “The pres­i­dent has been very frank about his opin­ion.”

Other sig­na­to­ries have been open in their re­jec­tion of Trump’s as­sess­ment of the deal and warned that they would con­tinue to honor the deal no mat­ter what the United States does.

The White House said Mon­day that Trump, in in­ter­ac­tions with mem­bers of a Group of 20 sum­mit held in Ger­many ear­lier this month, had called on them to “stop do­ing busi­ness with na­tions that spon­sor ter­ror­ism, es­pe­cially Iran.”

Asked about those com­ments, EU for­eign-pol­icy chief Fed­erika Mogherini said at a Tues­day news con­fer­ence with Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov, “I sim­ply re­ply with the num­bers of trade and in­vest­ments from the EU [that] have in­creased to Iran in terms of dou­ble dig­its, and this will con­tinue. …The en­gage­ment with Iran will con­tinue, and the deal will be im­ple­mented in all of its parts by all.”

“I know that in the U.S. there is a re­view on­go­ing,” Mogherini said. “We re­spect that. But we also have the duty to make it clear that the nu­clear deal doesn’t be­long to one coun­try. It be­longs to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, to the U.N. sys­tem. … We share re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure that this con­tin­ues to be im­ple­mented fully by all.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.