Trump's Iran policy fell short of equivocal IAEA report

Ann Santiago
September 7, 2017

But in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Haley laid out exactly what "compliance" should look like, in the context of the USA law that requires the president to make a determination every 90 days.

Haley is not advocating he decertify Iran's compliance, she said, but her one-hour presentation clearly laid out grounds for defending such an action.

In April, Trump ordered a review of whether a suspension of sanctions on Iran related to the nuclear deal, negotiated under former president, Barack Obama, was in the United States national security interest.

She described the nuclear deal as "a very flawed and very limited agreement", which Iran has violated multiple times. One would be to accept Iran as a de facto nuclear weapons state with the likelihood this would trigger a nuclear scramble among other regional powers including Saudi Arabia.

Critically, included in this supposed "non-nuclear" activity is the IRGC's ongoing development of ballistic missile technology.

Haley misses the irony of how this elaborate case against Iran is taking place in the shadow of an ascendent nuclear power -North Korea-openly testing missiles and threatening the US and its allies with nuclear annihilation. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

Ilan Goldenberg, a former state department official, said that if Trump withheld certification of the nuclear deal it would be hard for him to continue to waive sanctions, as both are based on similar criteria. It also would be strategically dumb, because Iran would be freed from its commitments under the deal and the US would have far less leverage than it did before the deal was signed. Then there is a congressional role, which Haley calls the third pillar, in the form of the Corker-Cardin bill, which requires the president to "certify" the integrity of the deal to congress every 90 days.

However, she asked: "Are we going to take care of our allies and make sure they're comfortable, or are we going to look after our national security interests?" "So far, Iran is abiding by the commitments taken in this mutually agreed framework", the French ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud, said in tweet soon after Haley's speech.

"If the president chooses not to certify Iranian compliance, that does not mean the United States is withdrawing from the JCPOA", Haley told the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, Reuters reported. "At issue is our national security". The Iranians often consider a "deal" to start with the written agreement, to be followed by new negotiations; we could adopt the same approach.

The ambassador, a former governor of SC, has become the administration's main voice on Iran, North Korea and other key foreign policy issues.

She said she did not know what Trump plans to do next month when he is due to certify to Congress whether Tehran is complying with the agreement. Haley didn't dispute the assessments of worldwide inspectors and US intelligence agencies, both of which concluded that Iran is in compliance with the deal, no matter how flawed and limited it may be. Among them: Haley's assertion that Obama intended the deal to not only restrain Iran's nuclear program, but to address Iran's other non-nuclear behaviors.

"Another major flaw in the JCPOA is its penalty provisions", she said. The truth is that Iran had to fulfill most of its obligations first-including disposing of excess enriched uranium, disassembling enrichment cascades, gutting its heavy water reactor, and much else-before the agreement was fully implemented and Iran got even a whiff of additional sanctions relief.

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