President Trump on Friday came as close as anyone has ever done to scrapping the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a.k.a. the Iran nuclear agreement, which unfroze at least $100 billion of Iranian assets in banks around the world. Trump, calling Iran “a terrorist nation like few others,” called on the US Congress to impose the old sanctions should Iran violate not only its commitment to restrict uranium processing in its nuclear facilities, but also the UNSC prohibition on its developing and testing ballistic missiles, and spreading its terror network around the Middle East.
Trump reminded his listeners at the White House that When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal.
“Among other conditions, this law requires the president, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is ‘appropriate and proportionate’ to measure – and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification,” President Trump announced, vowing, “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
“That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons. These include the deal’s sunset clauses that, in just a few years, will eliminate key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program,” Trump said.
The President then said that “the flaws in the deal also include insufficient enforcement and near total silence on Iran’s missile programs,” suggesting that “Congress has already begun the work to address these problems. Key House and Senate leaders are drafting legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strengthen enforcement, prevent Iran from developing an inter – this is so totally important – an intercontinental ballistic missile, and make all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity permanent under US law. So important. I support these initiatives.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, top GOP lawmakers spearheaded by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), are already at work on legislation to “harshly penalize” Iran should it not accept “rigid new standards on its nuclear activities within the next six months.”
The new legislation re-imposes all the economic sanctions that were lifted by the Obama Administration should Iran refuse to comply with tougher standards that restrict its “ballistic missile program, arms buildup, and failure to permit access to a range of military sites suspected of engaging in nuclear work.”
Even more important, according to the WFB, the new legislation effectively kills JCPOA’s sunset clauses, which rollback restrictions on Iran’s advanced nuclear research and weapons buildup within the next five to six years.
The US Western allies were essentially myopic regarding the President’s notes on the need to judge Iran’s compliance not only with the letter of the JCPOA deal, but to all the other international resolutions against the Islamic Republic’s state-sponsored terrorism. Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), stressed that Iran was implementing the deal and was subject to “the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.” He had nothing to say about the same Iran’s refusal to allow inspections of its military sites and ballistic missiles research facilities.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Europe “could not afford” to kill a nuclear deal which was working – again, turning a blind eye to Iranian terrorism that endangers the entire Middle East. French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump on the phone that France remains committed to the deal. British FM Boris Johnson declared: “This deal lives to fight another day and that’s a good thing.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s Friday speech, saying: “I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime.
“If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is absolutely certain: in a few years time, the world’s foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons. And that’s a tremendous danger for our collective future. President Trump has just created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism. That’s why Israel embraces this opportunity. And that’s why every responsible government and any person concerned with the peace and security of the world should do so as well.”
Several Gulf States, most prominently Saudi Arabia, were easily as enthusiastic as Netanyahu about the Trump policy speech on Iran. In a press release titled, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Welcomes, Supports Firm Strategy US President,” the Kingdom “expressed welcome and support of the resolute strategy announced by US President Donald Trump towards Iran and its aggressive approach, praising his vision in this regard and commitment to work with the US allies, in the region, in order to face common challenges, particularly Iran’s aggressive policies and actions, in the region.”
The statement accused Iran of exploiting “the economic benefits of lifting the sanctions and used them to continue to destabilize the region, especially through its ballistic missile development program and support of terrorism, in the region, including Hezbollah and the Houthi militias, in Yemen, the statement pointed out.”
“Iran has not only done so in flagrant violation of the resolution, but also it transferred such potentials and experience to its client militias, including Houthi militia, which used the missiles to target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, hence exposing falsity of Iranian claims that the development of these capabilities is only for defensive reasons,” the statement stressed.