As with DACA, Trump may leave Iran nuclear deal's fate to Congress

Haley's remarks show US envoy's ignorance of JCPOA text: Iran FM

"While I have discussed it with him, I do not know what decision he will make", Haley said Tuesday of Trump's deliberations. "I'm just saying if he (president) should decertify, he has the grounds".

"If the president finds that he can not certify Iranian compliance", she said, "it would be a message to Congress that the administration believes either that Iran is in violation of the deal, or that the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime's behavior, or that the lifting of sanctions is not in the USA national security interest, or any combination of the three".

Her speech, delivered at the most hawkish think tank in Washington-a nesting ground for the key architects of the Iraq War and wider Global War on Terror, not to mention almost every anti-Iranian hardliner in town-came just five days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared for the eighth time that Iran was complying with the 2015 deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Haley said the USA must consider the regime's repeated demonstrated hostility towards the United States.

In return, the United States and the European Union will suspend nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, with the lifting of all past UN Security Council sanction resolutions.

Critically, included in this supposed "non-nuclear" activity is the IRGC's ongoing development of ballistic missile technology.

Perhaps the most misleading statement in the Ambassador's remarks was her assertion that Trump's choice to decertify the deal would not actually amount to US withdrawal from the JCPOA, but would merely allow congress to debate the issue. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

Asked if the USA would end up isolated for leaving a deal that has buy in from China, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the EU, Haley said that European allies, who worked most closely with the Obama administration to craft the deal, understand the new U.S. concerns.

The requirement for the U.S. president to certify every 90 days that Iran remains in compliance with the JCPOA - or to declare that it is noncompliant - is not part of the multinational agreement, but was instead a separate understanding reached between former President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress.

"Congress could debate whether the nuclear deal is in fact too big to fail", Haley asserted.

"This is about US national security, this is not about European security", she said. The law provides an expedited process for Congress to re-impose sanctions. Instead, she said the decision to leave the accord would be tossed to Congress, leaving room for lawmakers to keep in place US sanctions relief.

Haley argued that judging Iran's nuclear intentions purely on the basis of its compliance with the "flawed" JCPOA was "dangerous and short-sighted".

"Iran's leaders want to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage to its bad behavior", she said.

Former Obama administration Iran hands mocked the speech, saying that however Trump frames abandonment of the deal, the US will be blamed. "At issue is our national security". In July, shortly after Trump last certified Iranian compliance, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it was designating 16 entities and individuals for activities supporting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The Iranians often consider a "deal" to start with the written agreement, to be followed by new negotiations; we could adopt the same approach.

The deal is backed by the United Nations and includes the five major nuclear powers that are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

"I get that Congress doesn't want this".

The landmark nuclear accord, agreed under the presidency of Barack Obama in 2015, saw worldwide sanctions eased in exchange for stringent controls on Iran's nuclear programme and closer IAEA inspections.

"No matter how convoluted this gets, the bottom line will be that the USA will be blamed for collapse", Ilan Goldenberg, who worked on Iran and Israel policy for Obama, said on Twitter.

A congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss Haley's speech, said that if the President chose not to certify Iran's compliance, "they would need to be very clear with Congress about what Iran has done to not deserve certification".

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