Trump’s Options on the Nuclear Deal with Iran

By Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

While President Donald Trump’s State Department has twice now certified Iranian compliance with the July 2015 nuclear deal, there are indications that Trump is intent on scuttling his predecessor’s signature foreign policy achievement.

However, the conundrum for the White House and its allies is that withdrawing from the deal — known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — when Iran is fully complying with its obligations according to all objective observers cannot be done without isolating the United States.

“You want the breakup of this deal to be about Iran. You don’t want it to be about the United States, because we want our allies with us,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee chairman and a prominent JCPOA critic, said.

Notably, Trump has already tasked a team in the White House with presenting him with an option to not recertify Iranian compliance at the next review in September, and he has said that he “personally” believes Iran will be found “noncompliant.”

An informed source in Washington who asked to remain anonymous told Al-Monitor that the White House is seeking ways to accuse Iran of technical noncompliance and material breaches of the deal, such as pressuring the International Atomic Energy Agency into demanding access to sensitive military facilities in Iran and using an Iranian rejection as a pretext for withdrawing from the deal; renegotiating the deal to get zero uranium enrichment in Iran or make the current limits on the Iranian nuclear program permanent; and trying to validate a 2016 German intelligence report claiming Iran continued “illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities,” despite the fact it was already dismissed by the Barack Obama administration and independent experts.

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