Thursday, April 20, 2017

Well, This Is Embarrassing (For Donald Trump)

(Photo of Trump opposing the Iran deal is from Robert Kelly's Asian Security Blog.)

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump complained endlessly about the deal President Obama negotiated with Iran to prevent them becoming a nuclear power. He called it disastrous and humiliating, and promised to either re-negotiate it or dump it once he became president. It was one of the issues that right-wingers loved from Trump.

Well, it looks like things have changed, and it's just one more thing that candidate Trump was wrong about. His administration has now admitted that the Iran deal is working, and Iran is keeping their part of the bargain.

Here is how Adrienne Masha Varkiana puts it at Think Progress:

After almost two years of Donald Trump railing against the Iranian nuclear agreement, his administration admitted that Iran is complying with its obligations under the deal. And its likely that the United States will do the same — pending further review.

Late on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) informing him that Iran is fully compliant with the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The letter marks the first time the White House has certified Iran’s compliance with the deal, under which a review to Congress is required by the administration every 90 days.

Despite noting Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA — which has repeatedly been certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — Tillerson’s statement on Monday said the United States would have to review the agreement and decide whether to continue suspending U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, a key requirement of the international agreement.

“Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods,” Tillerson’s letter read, adding that Trump has ordered an interagency review to determine whether suspending sanctions on Iran “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

The JCPOA limited Iran’s nuclear program, in exchange for relief from sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations. It did not address Iranian foreign policy. If the Trump administration chooses not to suspend nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, it could be seen as a U.S. violation of the deal.

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