Trump administration expected to certify Iran is compliant with Obama’s nuclear deal
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Trump administration is expected to re-certify that Iran is complying with guidelines set by former President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, multiple Trump administration officials tell CNN, meaning President Donald Trump — at least for the time being — will go along with a deal he once promised to “tear up.”
Trump is required to certify Iran’s compliance every 90 days and the officials said the President is expected to do so, cautioning, however, that Trump can be unpredictable and could change his mind at the last minute. Trump, the officials said, is taking his cues from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has argued that sticking to the deal is the best way to verify Iranian compliance.
The Trump administration last certified the agreement in April.
Obama’s deal with Iran was a frequent focus of Trump’s ire on the campaign trail. He railed against it at events snf said dismantling it was his “number one priority.” A video posted to his Instagram account said the deal proved it was “time for a real negotiator” to handle Iran.
As President, Trump tweeted in February that Iran “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!”
And in April he said the country was “not living up to the spirit of the agreement.”
“I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed,” he said. “It was a terrible agreement.”
One official explained Trump’s plan to certify the deal was more of a requirement than something the President wanted to do.
The deal, the official said, is under review through a process being led by the National Security Council and State Department. The review should be completed by the end of the summer and the officials said the administration appears to be moving toward a policy of strengthening implementation of the deal and planning for when the deal expires, while cracking down on Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region, support for terrorism and human rights.
But one official said that Trump’s plan to certify Iran as compliant by Monday doesn’t mean he wouldn’t pull out of the deal soon after.
“He does not like this deal. He thinks it is a major national security weakness for the United States,” the official said, adding that the “question is when and in what fashion” the United States gets out of the deal.
The decision to re-certify, though, means Iran will continue to benefit from the sanctions relief outlined in the agreement.
Republicans have urged Trump not to certify the agreement.
“The law Congress passed to hold Iran accountable requires the Secretary of State and President to certify that this deal is in the vital national security interest of the United States,” Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, told Fox News. “I simply wouldn’t certify that if I was the Secretary of State or President.”
The Weekly Standard first reported Trump’s plan to certify the deal by Monday.