The State Department has to notify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days. When President Obama was in office, his administration gave its approval every time.
Earlier this week, the State Department notified Congress, for the first time during the Trump administration, that Iran had met its commitments. Supporters and enemies of the Iranian regime were keenly awaiting the decision.
The Iran lobby, in particular the NIAC (National Iranian American Council) were calling for the approval and used the decision as proof that the nuclear deal is working.
However, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the nuclear deal has failed to put an end to the nuclear threat posed by Iran – it has simply just pushed the date back. Tillerson stated that Iran is still a huge threat to national and international security and is standing in the way of peace in the Middle East.
He also said that if Iran is not monitored then it will follow in the same way as North Korea. He said: “An unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it. The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach.”
Tillerson added that the US is going to take a thorough look into its Iran policy and will carefully evaluate the Iran nuclear deal that was agreed with the Obama administration. So the approval regarding Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal is not as significant as Trita Parsi – the NIAC President – made it out to be.
Parsi said: “With this certification, President Trump must now uphold the United States’ obligations and renew the sanctions waivers. If not, Trump will place the U.S. in violation of its commitments and be responsible for unilaterally killing the nuclear deal.”
Parsi seems to misunderstand the point that the Trump administration is making. The administration is looking into foreign policy and doing a complete review of the Iran nuclear deal because of Iran’s violations of human rights, its support for terrorism, its meddling in the internal affairs of other countries in the Middle East, and so on. All of this was ignored when the Obama administration was drawing up the nuclear deal.
The regime was appeased and thus emboldened faced with the inaction of the Obama administration. The Trump administration is now dealing with the consequences of this decision, and Tillerson said that the buck ends here: “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran.”
So for now it remains to be seen what the outcome of the Iran deal and foreign policy review will be. It is almost certain that the Trump administration will take the appropriate measures to stop Iran from continuing to spread terrorism across the region.