Per the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, the Trump administration is required to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is in compliance with the July 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) and that this agreement is in the national-security interests of the United States. The next certification is due on July 17, 2017.
It is crucial that the Trump administration, in the next JCPOA certification statement, correct the gross error it made in April, when it certified that Iran was complying with this agreement and that the JCPOA is in the national-security interests of our country. Unfortunately, the administration reportedly might make this same mistake again.
The April certification went against Mr. Trump’s accurate statements during the presidential campaign that the JCPOA was one of the worst agreements ever negotiated and that there was clear evidence of Iran’s failing to meet its obligations under the agreement as well as cheating. Although many Trump officials opposed the April certification – and this decision to certify appeared to irritate President Trump – State Department careerists succeeded in convincing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to agree to certify anyway. Press reports yesterday indicated that President Trump will grudgingly agree to certify Iranian compliance again but could change his mind.
Senators Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), David Perdue (R., Ga.), and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) made it clear in a July 11 letter to Secretary Tillerson that they do not want this to happen again and cited four ways Iran is not complying with the nuclear agreement:
One. Operating more advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges than is permitted and announcing the capability to initiate mass production of centrifuges. (Although I agree with this concern, the U.S. should not have agreed to let Iran enrich any uranium while the JCPOA is in effect, never mind enrich it with advanced centrifuges. This is one of the JCPOA’s most serious flaws.)
Two. Exceeding limits on production and storage of heavy water, a substance needed to operate plutonium-producing heavy-water nuclear reactors. (Again, I agree, but the U.S. should not have agreed to a pact that allows Iran to produce heavy water or operate a heavy-water reactor.)
Three. Covertly procuring nuclear and missile technology outside of JCPOA-approved channels. There’s direct evidence of this, from German intelligence reports.
Four. Refusing to allow IAEA inspectors access to nuclear-research and military facilities.
The four senators said in their letter that even if we ignore Iran’s violations of the JCPOA, continuation of the current policy “would be tantamount to rewarding Iran’s belligerence,” noting that Iran continues to wage a campaign of regional aggression, sponsor international terrorism, develop ballistic missiles, and oppress the Iranian people. I would add to this the fact that the JCPOA lifts sanctions from Iranian terrorists and terrorist entities.
The letter also claims that, regardless of whether every Iranian violation of the JCPOA can be chronicled, the senators doubt whether the U.S. could, under current arrangements, determine with high confidence that Iran’s nuclear-weapons program has ceased. One reason for this is the exemptions, in secret side deals to the JCPOA, that have not been made available to Congress as required by the Iran Nuclear Review Act. The Trump administration should release these side deals immediately. (Click here to read my September 30, 2016, NRO Corner piece listing known JCPOA side deals.)
Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s 90-day review of U.S. Iran policy, which was supposed to be completed this month, might not be finished for a few months. The recent reports that the administration will certify Iranian compliance over the next few days might be occasioned by the expectation that a final decision will occur after the policy review is issued, and in the next certification decision in October.
If these reports are true, this is preposterous. The case to declare that Iran is in noncompliance with the JCPOA is not a close call. It is outrageous that pressure from the foreign-policy establishment and European officials might convince the Trump administration to continue to prop up this fraudulent agreement. I am also worried that, because the Trump administration has not filled any government posts that deal with this issue, these certification decisions indicate that pro-JCPOA government careerists placed in key national-security jobs by the Obama administration have seized control of the review process to protect the JCPOA, regardless of strong evidence of Iranian noncompliance and cheating.
An honest declaration by the Trump administration that Iran is not complying with the nuclear deal and that this agreement is not in the national-security interests of the United States will do more than fulfill one of the president’s top campaign promises. It also would be a major step toward Mr. Trump’s assuming control of U.S. foreign policy from pro-Obama careerists and reversing President Obama’s disastrous policies. This must be followed by an aggressive effort by the White House to fill vacant political national-security jobs as soon as possible.
Full article: Iran Is Not Complying with the Nuclear Deal (Family Security Matters)