Fleitz writes that according to several sources, Trump “hit the ceiling” after the State Department sent its certification to Congress.
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, called a press conference the next day, during which he condemned Iran as a state sponsor of terror which is destabilizing the Middle East. He also called the JCPOA a weak agreement which “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran” and “only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state.”
The nuclear deal stopped Iran’s nuclear program for only a short period of time and left the problem for a future president to deal with, according to Tillerson, who added that the Trump administration would not follow this course and that U.S. policy regarding Iran “is being reviewed across the entire government.”
During a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump said that Iran is “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear deal. He added, “I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed and it was a terrible agreement. We are analyzing it very carefully and we’ll have something to say about it in the not too distant future.”
Former State Department officer Nicolas Burns, a critic of Trump tweeted: “Trump contradicts State Department on whether #Iran is living up to nuclear deal.”
Fleitz writes, “I was very pleased to see President Trump’s quick action to smack down efforts by the ‘swamp’ to sabotage his position on the dangerous JCPOA agreement. While I would have preferred him saying that Iran is in violation of the terms of the agreement, his statement that Iran has violated the spirit of the accord is a good starting point.”
He adds that the president should order the National Security Council to take control of the 90-day interagency review of the Iran nuclear deal. “I don’t really see the point of this lengthy review since the JCPOA’s problems are so obvious. Moreover, since so many key national security jobs are vacant, an interagency review could be easily hijacked by swamp careerists who negotiated the nuclear deal in the first place,” he writes.
His suggestion would be for the NSC to review the JCPOA itself and issue a recommendation by the end of the month, and adds that outside think tanks are another alternative – they could review the agreement and provide an independent evaluation.
He says that the Center for Security Policy (where he is senior vice-president), the Heritage Foundation, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the Hudson Institute and the Institute for Science and International Security, all have experts who have done extensive research and writing on the JCPOA. According to Fleitz, they could provide a “more realistic” assessment of it than an interagency government review.
“To keep his Iran policy on track, President Trump and his advisers need to be prepared for future efforts by the ‘swamp’ to undermine his major foreign policy objectives. The best way to do this is to staff key foreign policy posts throughout the government ASAP,” concludes Fleitz.