Screengrabs via YouTube, United Nations

The Facts —

  • President Donald Trump announced on 13 October that the United States would be taking a new approach to relations with Iran, which includes:
    • Working with US allies to counter the Ali Khamenei regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region;
    • Place additional sanctions on the regime to block funding of terrorist activities;
    • Addressing proliferation of missiles and weapons that threaten Iran’s neighbors, global trade, and freedom of navigation;
    • And denying the regime all paths to nuclear weapon capability.
  • The announcement focused on the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is commonly referred to as the Iran Deal, of which Trump said:

“[W]e got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons…

While the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond. Importantly, Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.”

  • Trump promised to cancel the Iran Deal by refusing to further certify that suspension of sanctions against Iran are “appropriate and proportionate,” a power vested in the President or the President’s designee under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, and outlined the following actions his administration would take in further of his new strategy:
    • Authorizing the Treasury Department to sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which Trump described as “the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia,” for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates; and
    • Working with Congress to address portions of the Iran Deal, including making permanent some that will expire after 15 years that currently restrict Iran’s nuclear program.

The Context —

“[T[he United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions…

But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.”

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) questioned Trump’s assertion that the Iran Deal pulled Iran back from the brink of “total collapse” saying on 13 October at a press conference held in Washington, DC:

“[T]he President put forward some statements that are blatantly not true and I depend on all of you to do the fact-checking on some of the statements that he made. One in particular was that the regime was ready to fall until we did this agreement. What? On the basis of what is he making that statement? The regime in Iran was ready to fall – did you know that? And then we came in and bolstered them.”

  • The Iran Deal was passed in 2015 for the purpose of “ensur[ing] that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful,” according to the US Department of State website and included the following provisions aimed at limiting the regime’s nuclear ability in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions:
    • Requiring Iran to transform one uranium plant into a science research center and scale back another by about half;
    • Limiting the enrichment value of Iran’s uranium (which is done with centrifuges that use water), as well as Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium;
    • Rendering Iran’s nuclear reactor core inoperable and shipping that reactor’s spent fuel, which could be used to create a bomb, out of the country; and
    • Allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to investigate suspicious practices and sites or allegations of secret weapons facilities related to uranium enrichment.
  • Trump said Iran has violated the Iran Deal in the following ways:
    • Exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water;
    • Until recently, failure to meet expectations in operation of advanced centrifuges;
    • Intimidation of international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for;
    • Iranian officials and military leaders barring inspectors from military sites which are suspected to further a nuclear weapons program; and
    • Alleged dealing with North Korea.
  • According to the US Department of State website, which lists the most recent compliance verification date as 16 January 2016 under former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry:

“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has implemented its key nuclear-related measures described in the JCPOA, and the Secretary State has confirmed the IAEA’s verification. As a result of Iran verifiably meeting its nuclear commitments, the United States and the EU have lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, as described in the JCPOA.”

  • The parties to the Iran Deal include China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US, the European Union and Iran.

Supporters of Trump’s New Strategy for Iran —

  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (Wisconsin) said on 13 October:

“The nuclear agreement struck by the previous administration with Iran is fatally flawed. Not only did it codify Tehran’s [the capital of Iran and the Tehran province] domestic enrichment capability, but once key restraints expire in the coming years, the regime will be free to pursue nuclear weapons under the guise of international legitimacy. All the while, Iran has continued to test-fire ballistic missiles and finance its terrorist proxies across the globe.

Simply enforcing a fatally flawed agreement is not sufficient. I support President Trump’s decision to reevaluate this dangerous deal, and the House will work with his administration to counter Iran’s range of destabilizing activities.”

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska) said on 13 October:

  • Sen. Tim Scott (South Carolina) said on 13 October:

  • Trump said of his administration’s new approach to relations with Iran on 13 October:

“In this effort, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors…

We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people.”

Critics of Trump’s New Strategy for Iran —

  • Sen. Tim Kaine (Virginia) said on 14 October:

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) said on 13 October:

“I say the Iran Nuclear Agreement is the best way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state. President Trump’s refusal to recertify is a grave mistake that threatens America’s security and our credibility during a very critical time. The President is ignoring the overwhelming consensus of nuclear scientists, national security experts, generals and his own cabinet including, reportedly, the Secretary of Defense [James Mattis] and the Secretary of State [Rex Tillerson]…

The fact is – Iran remains in compliance with the nuclear agreement. If they did not, we would not be supporting certification. If Iran were not in compliance, our allies would walk away. They are not. Supporters of the agreement harbor no illusions about the Iranian regime – that is why the agreement is based on truth, not trust. It set up the toughest detection inspection, and verification framework ever negotiated. Threatening this agreement does not isolate Iran; it isolates America.”

  • Rep. Adam Schiff (California), Ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, explained on 13 October that Trump’s decision not to re-certify Iran as in compliance with the Iran Deal may have no consequence:

“The failure to certify triggers a 60 day period in which Congress can reinstate nuclear sanctions against Iran under expedited procedures. However, in the absence of a breach, Congress should not take any action which would be contrary to our commitments under the JCPOA. Instead, Congress should endeavor to do what the President failed to do – abide by the JCPOA, uphold America’s global leadership role and credibility, and develop a strategy to counter Iranian influence and malevolence in non-nuclear areas.”

“[T]he crippling sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place could not be maintained indefinitely and that if the United States walked away from the agreement, the international sanctions regime may well have crumbled, leaving Iran with many of the benefits of the JCPOA without the cost of heightened inspections and limited enrichment capacity…

It appears [Trump’s decision not to re-certify Iran’s compliance] is simply based on the President’s anger that he must certify that the JCPOA is working as intended, when he so often claimed the contrary without any factual basis…

Among the many destructive and dangerous aspects of this decision is sowing further doubt that the United States will live up to its international commitments. If other nations do not believe that we will abide by our agreements, how can we credibly negotiate a diplomatic settlement to the North Korean crisis?”

Stephanie Haney contributed to this report. 

The Whim News Team

The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

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