One of the real problems with this deal is we can’t really say with confidence that they are complying [bold mine-DL] and we know from their behavior, their behavior broadly in the region, and their behavior within the agreement where they have walked up to the line, they have crossed the line several times in terms of the restrictions, that this is not a trustworthy regime. So, much more comprehensive monitoring is in order.
The IAEA’s inspections in Iran are the most thorough and extensive in the world today, and the agency verifies that Iran is complying with the agreement. The very few minor occasions when there has been a problem, the IAEA has caught it, and the problem was fixed. The verification regime that the deal puts in place ensures that if Iran ever does exceed the limits set by the agreement the IAEA will know about it right away. One could scarcely ask for “more comprehensive monitoring” than this, so to insist that this is needed betrays a lack of understanding of what the deal does, shows the administration’s determination to misrepresent the JCPOA to the public, or some combination of the two.
McMaster’s claim that we can’t “say with confidence” that Iran is in compliance shows that there is no agreement that could conceivably be reached with Iran that would satisfy its critics. If the IAEA’s judgment on eight different occasions doesn’t give McMaster confidence that Iran is really complying, nothing will. If this deal isn’t good enough because Iran “is not a trustworthy regime,” there is no deal that would be. McMaster has taken the old “trust but verify” slogan and turned it inside out, so that verification isn’t possible because a regime isn’t trustworthy. He might as well just declare that evidence is completely irrelevant to the making of administration policy, because that is what his statements yesterday mean.
Reneging on the agreement will make it more difficult for other governments to trust our government. Another consequence of this policy is that the public will have another good reason to disbelieve what they are being told by administration officials, because those officials are making a number of false and misleading claims to justify Trump’s decision. Trump’s officials aren’t just shredding U.S. credibility in the eyes of the world. They are setting fire to their own by making such preposterous, easily refuted claims about the nuclear deal.