Despite President Donald Trump’s contention during his presidential campaign that the United States’ nuclear agreement with Iran was “the worst deal ever,” his administration on Monday certified that Iran was complying with the agreement, but warned that Tehran was in default of the spirit of the agreement.
Monday’s certification marked the second issued since Trump was inaugurated in January.
Due to federal law requiring the State Department to notify Congress every 90 days of Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the president was up against a congressionally mandated deadline of Monday make a decision regarding certification.
According to a senior administration official, Iran was judged in compliance of the 2015 nuclear deal but Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that Iran “remains one of the most dangerous threats to U.S. interests and to regional stability.”
Unacceptable behaviors by Iran were listed by the official, including the development and proliferation of ballistic missiles, support for terrorism and militancy, complicity in atrocities committed in Syria and threats to Gulf waterways.
“The president and the secretary of state judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent of the JCPOA, which was to contribute to regional and international peace and security. As a result, the president, the secretary of state and the entire administration judge that Iran is unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA,” the official said.
Trump administration officials said that the certification will not stand in the way of new economic sanctions against Iran which are being prepared due to the country’s ballistic missile program and its contribution to regional tensions.
The Trump administration plans to implement a strategy that “address the totality of Iran’s malign behavior” in addition to focusing on the Iran nuclear agreement.
The official said that the administration is also seeking ways to strengthen the nuclear deal and more strictly enforce it, expressing concerns that the deal would eventually allow Iran to openly pursue industrial-scale nuclear fuel enrichment.
“We’re in a period where we’re going to be working with our allies to explore options for addressing the JCPOA’s flaws, which there are many,” the official said.
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