Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Trump on Iran nuke accord: It's the 'worst deal. We got nothing'

President Trump reportedly wants to return the U.S. to the level of nuclear weapons stockpiled in the 1960s President Trump reportedly wants to return the U.S. to the level of nuclear weapons stockpiled in the 1960s
Dexter Carr | 13 October, 2017, 00:34

The official said Trump has been telling foreign leaders and US lawmakers that his refusal to certify the Iran deal would not blow it up.

Trump will also call on Congress to amend legislation that requires him to certify the agreement every 90 days, a source of political embarrassment as he has repeatedly denounced it as the "worst deal ever".

With President Donald Trump reportedly set to declare that the Iran nuclear deal is "not in the national interest of the United States" as early as Friday, a chorus of lawmakers, policy experts, and advocacy groups are sounding the alarm, warning that any move to undermine the accord would "open up a nuclear Pandora's box in the Middle East" and place the USA on a "path to war with Iran". Many will not even discuss what congressional debate might follow if Trump decertifies, instead focusing the arguments for certification.

While the Trump administration has twice certified Iranian compliance with the deal in notifications to the US Congress under an American law, the White House has indicated that a third verification - due later this week - would not be offered.

Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Trump administration should preserve the deal to protect U.S. national security, even though he opposed the deal at the time.

It is also expected that the Trump administration could announce a fresh set of sanctions, possibly non-nuclear, against the Middle East nation like penalties against Iran's ballistic missile programme.

And if that fails, Cotton said, "We may have to impose new, even more coercive, sanctions".

"This is not a way of making deals, not in foreign policy, not in private businesses, and I think President Trump understands this perfectly well", she said.

However, with the agreement in place and strongly supported by co-signers Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, many Republicans who still abhor the pact nevertheless do not want to blow it up for fear that doing so would erode USA credibility.

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Analysts disagree on the impact of reimposed USA sanctions, especially if European sanctions remain frozen. "We may have to array our forces to prepare for. calibrated strikes".

Deutch said the danger of walking away from the agreement is that those expiration dates "would have effectively dropped from a decade to a day" because Iran would be freed of its obligations under the deal. Those against it, like the president, argue it should last longer and also ban things like Iranian missile tests and support for militants.

Beyond decertification, there are a number of ways the Trump administration could put pressure on Iran to come back to the negotiating table.

"What Trump is doing is opening a very unnecessary "Pandora's box" of troubles at a time when he is unable to competently handle the crisis with North Korea's nuclear program", said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, which supports the Iran deal.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., opposed the Iran nuclear agreement in part because the deal gave Tehran access to tens of billions of dollars in previously frozen assets.

Why does U.S. President Donald Trump want to scrap it?

Second, Trump could call for greater non-nuclear sanctions on Iran as it seeks to punish the regime without violating the deal.

As British Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch said on September 25, "We would say, let's intensify the discussions [on how to deal with Iran's other activity], but let's keep the JCPOA". Many Democrats believe that is more likely to happen if Congress does not act to make changes to the existing agreement.

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