Iran Policy Expected to Get Tougher

The president is also expected to address concerns over Iran’s ballistic missile advances, its involvement in Middle East states, and its support of terrorism.

In a late September meeting with his P5+1 counterparts and Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said,
“Lifting the sanctions as required under the terms of the JCPOA has enabled Iran’s unacceptable behavior.”

Prior to a Thursday evening meeting with senior military leaders at the White House, Trump told reporters “The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East.” He added, “That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.”

Others on Capitol Hill advocate the new approach. At a speech in the Council on Foreign Relations last week, Senator Tom Cotton said, “The president should decline to certify, not primarily on grounds related to Iran’s technical compliance, but rather based on the long catalog of the regime’s crimes and perfidy against the United States, as well as the deal’s inherent weakness.”

There are ongoing discussions of how to amend the JCPOA’s restrictions, such as “sunset clauses,” Iran’s ballistic missile development and testing, and inspections that lack the necessary access into the regime’s controversial military sites.

It is expected that Trump will decertify Iran, but he most likely not completely pull America out of the nuclear agreement. Trump seems set to place decisions regarding further sanctions on Iran on the US Congress.

The new US policy to be announced by Trump, is said to cover several issues, including blacklisting Iran’s notorious Revolutionary Guards, missile tests, support for terrorism, and perhaps, human rights violations at home, as well as cyberattacks.

Heshmat Alavi, in his article for Al Arabyia writes, “The new mentality sought by Washington is to address all of Iran’s belligerence and not allow its nuclear program and the JCPOA devour all of the international community’s attention.”

In a statement that must be disturbing to Iran, Trump called his meeting with top military officials last Thursday, “the calm before the storm.” No further details were provided by the US President nor the White House.

According state media, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, “Iran regards defensive missile programs as its absolute right and will definitely continue them within the framework of its defensive, conventional and specified plans and strategies.”

Additionally, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani remarked at a recent Tehran University ceremony, “In the nuclear negotiations and agreement we reached issues and benefits that are not reversible. No one can turn that back, not Mr. Trump or anyone else,” according to state media.

However, Senator Cotton made it clear that, “Congress and the President, working together, should lay out how the deal must change and, if it doesn’t, the consequences Iran will face.”