President Donald Trump will officially refuse to certify the Iran nuclear deal according to CNBC. The move is a strategic shift by the Trump administration to include Iran's regional activities (funding of the terror group Hezbollah) and additional 'focus points' as part of the agreement.
In a briefing with reporters, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined the new strategy, which aims to address not just problems the administration sees in the nuclear deal but also in Iran's ballistic missile program and its role in conflicts throughout the Middle East. Specifically, the administration has raised concerns that key parts of the deal expire in 10-15 years and that inspectors do not have access to military sites. More broadly, Trump wants to tackle Iran's ballistic missile tests and its interventions in regional conflicts, issues that were not addressed as part of nuclear negotiations.
The plan includes a diplomatic push to persuade U.S. allies to negotiate a new agreement that would effectively supplement the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The administration will also ask European partners to join the United States in imposing new sanctions on elements of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military unit loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
U.S. agrees that Iran is in nuclear compliance with deal
The other JCPOA negotiators — China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom — as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, which conducts inspections of Iranian facilities, say that Iran remains in compliance. "Under the JCPOA, we don't disagree. We don't dispute that they're under technical compliance," Tillerson said. "One of the weaknesses is the bar, the standard, to remain in technical compliance is not that difficult or has not been that difficult for them to meet."
Trump has punted the treaty to the U.S. Congress.
The White House proposes amending the Iran Review Act to establish a series of benchmarks, or "trigger points," that would automatically restore sanctions if Iran crosses one of the red lines. The trigger points will include aspects of the Iran nuclear deal already in force, but the administration will also suggest new benchmarks related to Iran's ballistic missile program. That is a risky proposal because Iran has rejected efforts to curb its weapons program as part of nuclear negotiations.