It worries me greatly that John Bolton was not Trump’s 1st pick for the top spot at the State Dept.
Trump Must Withdraw From Iran Nuclear Deal – Now
- Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).
- There is ominous talk of America “not living up to its word.” This is nonsense. The president’s primary obligation is to keep American citizens safe from foreign threats. Should President George W. Bush have kept the United States in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, rather than withdraw to allow the creation of a limited national missile-defense shield to protect against rogue-state nuclear attacks?
- Care to bet how close Tehran — and North Korea — now are? Consider the costs of betting wrong.
For the second time during the Trump administration, the State Department has reportedly decided to certify that Iran is complying with its 2015 nuclear deal with the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
If true, it will be the administration’s second unforced error regarding the JCPOA. Over the past two years, considerable information detailing Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).
Since international verification is fatally inadequate, and our own intelligence far from perfect, these violations undoubtedly only scratch the surface of the ayatollahs’ inexhaustible mendaciousness.
Certification is an unforced error because the applicable statute (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, or INARA) requires neither certifying Iranian compliance nor certifying Iranian noncompliance. Paula DeSutter and I previously explained that INARA requires merely that the Secretary of State (to whom President Obama delegated the task) “determine…whether [he] is able to certify” compliance (emphasis added). The secretary can satisfy the statute simply by “determining” that he is not prepared for now to certify compliance and that U.S. policy is under review.
This is a policy of true neutrality while the review continues. Certifying compliance is far from neutral. Indeed, it risks damaging American credibility should a decision subsequently be made to abrogate the deal.
Beyond the procedural question, however, is the importance of swiftly resolving the underlying policy gridlock. President Trump has repeatedly made clear his view that the Iran deal was a diplomatic debacle. It is not renegotiable, as some argue, because there is no chance that Iran, designated by Ronald Reagan as a state sponsor of terrorism in January 1984, will agree to any serious changes. Why should it? President Obama gave them unimaginably favorable terms, and there is no reason to think China and Russia will do us any favors revising them.