Iran nuclear deal: How Trump's plan to pressure Tehran could play out

Posted October 13, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Iran abides by all its commitments on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and emphasized that all co-authors of the document must abide by it, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after a telephone conversation of the two diplomats.

JCPOA is a "non-binding political agreement". The requirement for certification that Iran is complying with the deal came out of the dissatisfaction by Republicans over the Obama administration's agreement.

But Trump has received little support from the other five world powers involved in the pact that lifted crippling economic sanctions on the Iranian regime in return for restrictions on nuclear activities.

Doing so has kept the compliance with the accord, but because it's purely an issue of USA law, decertification does not matter for the deal itself.

It also would indicate that the United States would be willing to renegotiate agreements with every new administration, giving other countries reason to hesitate on negotiations if they felt future leadership would give them a better deal, Mogherini added.

"As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it", said the California lawmaker. Iran has said it may exit the deal if the US withdraws. He called Trump's move to kick the deal to Congress a "trap" and "a tactic meant to reach the president's goal of tearing the deal apart". The next deadline for him to do so is October 15.

"This is not a way of making deals, not in foreign policy, not in private businesses, and I think President Trump understands this perfectly well", she said.

If Trump announces the decertification of the Iran nuclear deal, Congress will reportedly have 60 days to re-impose economic sanctions against Iran that were withdrawn following the 2015 agreement.

But Iranian officials have already ruled out any renegotiation of the deal. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., would demand that the intelligence community produce judgments on a wide range of Iranian behavior that is not covered by the nuclear deal, including ballistic missile testing and development and threats to Israel and the Mideast more broadly. "We may have to array our forces to prepare for. calibrated strikes".

Federica Mogherini, while talking to PBS TV channel, on Wednesday, highlighted Iran's full compliance with the 2015 deal.

But France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the European Union - who negotiated the deal along with the U.S., China, Russia, and Iran - have all said the deal is working well and urged the stay in it. If those sanctions are put back into place, the JCPOA would be considered breached. But again, none of that is likely since the USA would be essentially tearing up the agreement and taking the blame for whatever comes next.

Second, Trump could call for greater non-nuclear sanctions on Iran as it seeks to punish the regime without violating the deal.

The Europeans seem more inclined to try to "build" on the deal in this way.

To win over some conservative Republicans and Iran hawks, Corker and other leaders are considering proposing sanctions on Iran's non-nuclear activities and broader inspections, particularly of Iranian military facilities.

But it could be hard to get both Iran and its ally, Russia, back to the table for a new round of talks.

Rep. Elliot Engel, N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would consider modifying the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act so the president certifies Iran's compliance less frequently than every 90 days now, or using different standards.