The Trump administration’s continued deep ambivalence about the deal suggests that it may eventually seek to find a way to break the deal without getting blamed. Senior officials stressed that President Donald Trump is determined that his administration’s broader policy toward Iran not be held hostage by the nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Obama, even if he is not ready to walk away from it just yet.
“The secretary of state is in the process of certifying to Congress that the conditions that are laid out in [congressional legislation] have been met,” a second senior administration official said on the White House call. “However, the secretary of state and president intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most dangerous threats … particularly in its region.”
A third senior administration official said the Trump administration intends to work with European allies to try to “build the case for serious flaws of the agreement, while also looking for ways to more strictly enforce the deal.”
Among the alleged flaws in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the officials cited the fact that certain restrictions sunset after several years, allowing Iran eventually “to openly pursue industrial-scale enrichment,” the third official said. In addition, the official said, “The JCPOA fails to address Iran’s non-nuclear behavior.”