Two years ago, I urged US Senators to vote "no" on the Iran nuclear deal. My goal was not to have them scrap the accord, which had numerous positive benefits, but to give President Barack Obama leverage to repair its serious flaws. "No," I argued, "doesn't necessarily mean ‘no, never.' It can also mean ‘not now, not this way.' It may be the best way to get to ‘yes.'"
US President Donald Trump's "decertification" of the Iran nuclear deal has been the subject of much debate this past week.
Trump's tendency to be impulsive and his antagonistic style have led some commentators to dismiss the merits of this particular decision without examining the details.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared on Sept. 17 that Iran is in "technical compliance" with the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This assertion ignores multiple Iranian violations of the letter of the accord. It overlooks the lack of transparency in the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) reporting on Teheran's nuclear conduct. It sidesteps the agency's failure to receive access to military sites where nuclear weaponisation activities may have occurred.
As a presidential candidate, Trump vowed to "rip up" the "disastrous" deal. Yet his administration has not taken any concrete steps to either renegotiate or pull the US out. However, a key deadline looms in mid-October that has led to a flurry of speculation whether the Trump Administration may make a major shift in strategy regarding the deal.
Israel has apparently struck many targets in Syria over the past few years as part of its quest to stop the transfer of advanced weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. What was notable about this one is that Syria is not supposed to have such facilities at all.
This Update deals with some new ideas about how the Trump Administration can formulate its diplomatic strategy with respect to the Iran nuclear deal - known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). This issue is especially timely in view of the fact that Mr. Trump is legally required to report to Congress by Oct. 15 whether the deal is being implemented and meets US national security interests.