President Trump granted an interview to Wall Street Journal reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday, and during the 45-minute visit, the subject of Iran was discussed.
Every 90 days, the president must confirm, or certify, to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 multinational nuclear deal arranged by the previous administration. However, Trump said the next time the certification comes up, he expects that Iran won’t be found playing by the rules.
His administration has given Iran “the benefit of every doubt” in their compliance with the agreement, Trump said, but confirmed that he will be prepared to “overrule his own advisers in proclaiming that Iran hasn’t met the terms of the agreement.”
Trump told The Wall Street Journal, “We’ve been extremely nice to them in saying they were compliant. Personally, I have great respect for my people, but if it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago. We’ll talk about the subject in 90 days, but I would be surprised if they were in compliance.”
Responding to the news in an opinion editorial, Steve LeVine of Axios stated that if the president actually withdraws from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, “he could trigger a new escalation in already-high tension between Iran and the U.S.”
Additionally, LeVine predicted:
“But the actual impact of a U.S. withdrawal on Iran or its nuclear program will depend on how Tehran and Europe respond. European powers seem unlikely to follow the U.S. in lockstep, and there is much financial reason — business deals between European companies and Iran — to keep the deal in place, at least as far as they are concerned.
“Why it’s important: Trump’s beef and that of other deal critics is that Iran has continued its ballistic missile program, along with its aggressive regional politics. None of that is likely to halt or even slow because the U.S. withdraws from the deal. But it could lead Iran to bust out of the terms of the agreement and resume its suspected development of a nuclear weapon.”
The most recent certification of the deal was earlier this month.
In a previous report, prior to a congressionally mandated deadline, Trump was expected to recertify Iranian compliance with the Iran nuclear agreement, indicated by sources from The Washington Examiner and The Weekly Standard.
The decision, which continues to provide Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for their alleged fulfillment of the terms of the deal, follows an intense internal debate over the pros and cons of recertification.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had advocated for this month’s recertification, three months after its last deadline in April.
As a presidential candidate, Trump pledged to “tear up” the deal. In a March 2016 speech before AIPAC, Trump said, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”
After former president Obama signed the nuclear deal with Iran, the country’s oil production increased by more than 300% earlier in 2017, according to The Daily Caller. They reported that Iran increased oil production from 870,000 to 3.67 million barrels a day. The same report said that with production booming, Iran plans to get investment partners to help improve and make the most of their oil fields.
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