DOUBTS ON IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson notified Congress on Wednesday that Iran was complying with the 2015 international agreement on its nuclear program.
In the first such review by the Trump administration, Mr. Tillerson stated in a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan that Tehran has met the compliance conditions outlined in the 2015 Nuclear Agreement Review Act, passed by Congress amid doubts about the accord.
“Notwithstanding, Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods,” Mr. Tillerson stated, noting that President Trump ordered an interagency review of the accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The review “will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States,” he said.
The statement suggests the Trump administration could re-impose sanctions on Iran, something Tehran has said would lead it to pull out of a deal critics say will allow the Islamic republic to develop nuclear arms in 10 years.
The Iran deal permits uranium enrichment and calls for “snap-back” sanctions if Tehran fails to abide by its terms, which are aimed at preventing development of nuclear arms.
The JCPOA restricts extensive international monitoring to declared nuclear facilities and calls upon Iran to permit inspections when any suspicious facilities are spotted.
However, Iran in the past has stymied international monitoring of suspect nuclear sites, like the Parchin facility that was not included in the Iran deal. Parchin, located some 20 miles southeast of Tehran, was the location for most of Iran’s past nuclear arms-related work.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a critic of the Iran deal when he was a Republican member of Congress, said recently that intelligence estimates of Iranian compliance with the nuclear accord remain uncertain.
“I don’t want to say much about their compliance with the agreement,” Mr. Pompeo said during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week. “I prefer to present that to the president and let him communicate
that. You should know we are actively engaged in a lot of work to assist the president in making sure he has an understanding of where the Iranians are complying and where they might not be.”
Mr. Pompeo then suggested Iran could cheat as Syria did in hiding chemical weapons that were required to be given up under an Obama administration-brokered agreement.
“We should all be mindful, given what took place in Syria, and go back and read that JCPOA and what it talks about in terms of declared facilities and undeclared facilities, and how much access the IAEA will have to each of those two very distinct groups,” Mr. Pompeo said.
“So that might suggest to you what level of certainty we can ever hope to present to the commander-in-chief,” he said.
Mr. Pompeo also said the Iran nuclear agreement has not led to a more benign Iran, as agreement supporters predicted would take place.
Among the increasing threats are Iran’s growing missile capabilities, as well as Iranian subversion in Iraq and Yemen. “The list of Iranian transgressions has increased dramatically since
the date that the JCPOA was signed,” he said.