Donald Trump has accused Iran
of not acting in keeping with the international nuclear deal, 10 days before the US president has to report to Congress whether or not Tehran is complying with the 2015 accord.
“They have not lived up to the spirit of the agreement,” Trump declared during a meeting with senior military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
Trump has desperately sought a pretext to scrap or weaken the nuclear pact, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and get rid of the limits it imposes on the US ability to pursue more hostile policies against Iran.
The Republican president faces an October 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the deal. Such certification is needed by US law every 90 days in order for Congress to continue to withhold nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, itself a US commitment under the JCPOA. If he argues that Iran is not in compliance, that could cause an American withdrawal from the international pact.
Trump on Thursday accused Iran of supporting terrorism and exporting “violence and chaos across the Middle East.”
“That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions” he said. “You will be hearing about Iran very shortly.”
Trump is reportedly planning to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
He will declare that the nuclear deal is not in the national interest of the United States
and kick the issue to a reluctant Congress, The Washington Post
reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the White House strategy.
This is despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently reported that Iran is complying with the agreement.
Even, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also acknowledged that Tehran has been in “technical compliance” with the 2015 nuclear agreement.
In a letter to Trump on Wednesday, at least 180 members of the US Congress called on Trump to endorse the Iran nuclear deal, saying an American withdrawal from the pact would be against the interests of the US and its allies.
The Trump administration has twice so far certified Iran’s compliance with the deal, but if he refuses to do that for a third time, then the Republican-controlled Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions waived under the deal. That would allow Congress to effectively decide whether to kill the deal.
This is while the other parties to the deal, along with the entire international community, have thrown their weight behind the accord, praising the Islamic Republic for its full commitment to its side of the bargain.