By Paul Mirengoff
July 17, 2017
The Iran nuclear deal requires that the administration certify (or decline to certify) to Congress every 90 days that Iran is in compliance and that the agreement is in the vital national security interest of the United States. The next certification is due today.
Earlier in the day, National Security Council director H. R. McMaster indicated that the administration will so certify. McMaster added plenty of noise about how the deal is bad one that has not changed Iran’s behavior, about how Iran is in default of the spirit of the agreement, and about how “we need to take a closer look at whether it is violating the letter of the deal.” But the bottom line is that the Trump administration will certify Iran’s compliance and the supposed national interest in upholding the deal.
Fred Fleitz, who served in national security positions for 25 years and who currently is senior vice president with the Center for Security Policy, wrote a forceful, and I believe persuasive, argument that Iran is not complying. He relied in part on a letter from four Senators — Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, David Perdue, and Marco Rubio — to Secretary of State Tillerson that pointed out four ways in which Iran is out of compliance. Here is that letter.
Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton has also argued against certification. He noted that non-certification isn’t a determination that Iran is out of compliance, but only a statement that the president is unable at this time to certify that it is. Meanwhile the administration would review the question, as it says it will do anyway.
But Bolton was clear that, in his view, “the administration should stop reviewing and start deciding.” Whatever may be true about Iranian compliance, or lack thereof, it should be clear to the administration by now that the deal is not vital to our national security interests.
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