Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom
The U.S. is getting closer to fully reneging on the nuclear deal with Iran:
A Congressional deadline for taking action on Iran expires on Tuesday, handing the fate of a historic nuclear deal with Tehran back to Donald Trump and increasing doubts about its future.
The US president vowed in October to scrap the agreement unless Congress and US allies intervened to fix his concerns. In January, he faces deadlines to recertify the deal and waive sanctions or break the pact, with no signs of success in Congress in helping to finding a way through.
Trump isn’t going to choose to certify the nuclear deal after having already refused to do so once before, and since he refuses to certify the deal he isn’t going to waive sanctions. There is no “fix” that Congress can make that would satisfy Trump without violating the deal itself. The destructive Corker-Cotton legislation went nowhere once that became obvious. Unfortunately, there is no chance that Trump is suddenly going to decide to support an agreement that he has wanted to see wrecked for so long.
Once the U.S. goes back on its promises to provide sanctions relief, the U.S. will be openly breaching its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The other parties to the deal may try to keep it going for the foreseeable future, but reneging on our commitments will be a serious blow to the agreement and could very well cause it to collapse entirely. After Trump refused to certify the deal back in October, breaking the deal was always a very likely outcome. I said as much at the time:
While decertification will not mean an immediate U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, it will set into motion a process that’s very likely to lead to the same result, and send a clear signal of the administration’s determination to be rid of the deal in its current form.
Trump has made it clear many times that he intends to scrap the deal, and in a few weeks we have to assume that he is going to do just that. Once that happens, the chances of unnecessary war with Iran increase. It will be up to members of Congress and the public to stop the Trump administration from pursuing the confrontational policies that will make such a war more likely.