US President Donald Trump was infuriated when Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and top national security aides pressured him to “recertify” the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran in July.
He threw a fit,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the discussion. “He was furious. Really furious. It’s clear he felt jammed.”
“He was incensed by the arguments of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and others that the landmark 2015 deal, while flawed, offered stability and other benefits,” said one person familiar with the meeting.
Trump will unveil on Friday Washington’s strategy with regard to the international nuclear agreement with Iran, the White House said Thursday.
Trump, who has described the Iran accord as “the worst deal ever,” has until October 15 to decide whether to certify that Iran is in compliance with the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Trump is expected to declare to Congress on Sunday that retaining the 2015 nuclear deal is no longer in the US national interest, opening the possibility for Congress to re-impose sanctions against Iran and undermining a landmark victory of multilateral diplomacy.
The US president has desperately sought a pretext to scrap or weaken the JCPOA and get rid of the limits it imposes on the US ability to pursue more hostile policies against Iran.
‘Trump’s motivations for revoking Iran deal are political’
Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Experts argue that Trump’s motivations for revoking the nuclear deal are more political than strategic.
“He doesn’t want to certify the Iran deal for more domestic reasons than international ones,” Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, told the Post.
“He doesn’t want to certify that any piece of the Obama strategy is working,” said the Iranian-American academic and author who has specialized in the Middle East.
This is while the other parties to the deal, including US allies, have thrown their weight behind the accord, confirming that the Islamic Republic has been in full compliance with the deal.
“We are on a tightrope. We don’t know what will happen,” said one Western diplomat worried that Trump’s action will undermine the international agreement.
“The UK supports the deal and stresses the importance of all parties continuing to uphold their commitments,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday, following a telephone call with Tillerson.