U.S. President Trump told the world that he would not sign off on the Iran certification any longer. The nuclear deal from 2015 imposed curbs on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of various international sanctions. According to the Trump administration, Iran has been violating the terms of the agreement and President Trump has proposed new sanctions to be implemented.
According to Trump, the United States “will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”
The Trump administration has previously certified Iran’s compliance with the agreement twice before, but he has indicated that he will not do so in October. This put the United States Congress in the position of determining whether or not they will reimpose the sanctions that had been lifted, but they only have 60 days to decide what their next move will be. The Trump administration also indicated that they are designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and want the sanctions imposed that this designation brings.
Role of IRGC
The IRGC is a critical part of the Iranian economy, so this designation and the accompanying sanctions could have a huge impact on this already crippled and struggling economy. Although the lifting of the sanctions was meant to give the Iranian economy a lift, but the reality is that companies have been hesitant to enter into this marketplace. Unemployment continues to remain high.
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has also said that it supports Trump’s decision to not recertify the deal because Iran is not in compliance. They pointed to the fact that Iran has not allowed nuclear inspectors to visit its military sites, so the record of how much nuclear material Iran has is incomplete.
Iran has also been active on the black market, attempting to get banned or restricted technology and parts through channels outside of the JCPOA-approved ones. Iran claims compliance with the agreement, but it is also clear that the regime is taking advantage of multiple loopholes in the agreement.
“UANI also applauds the administration for its focus on the problematic non-nuclear aspects of Iran’s behavior, including increased sanctions on the (IRGC). For too long, Iran’s support for terrorism, regional meddling, and human rights abuses have been overlooked by the international community in an attempt to make the Iran nuclear deal work. Today’s strategy is a warning to the Iranian regime that the status quo remains unacceptable,” said Mark D. Wallace, CEO of UANI and a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Middle East countries respond
Other nations within the region have released statements in support of the actions of the Trump administration. Saudi Arabia noted that their country had supported the nuclear deal, but acknowledged that Iran has exploited the economic benefits and used them to negatively impact the region as a whole. This includes its ballistic missile program and the funding of various militias throughout the Middle East.
Multiple statements noted the negative impact of Iran’s regime on various countries, including Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and others. These countries noted that the region would be more peaceful without the regime’s malignant behavior.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. announcement comes in accordance with Egypt’s concerns towards Iran’s policies. “The Iranian policies cause instability, affecting the national security of the Arab region,” said the statement.
“The national security of the Arab Gulf states is an extension of Egypt’s national security,” said Ahmed Abu Zaid, a Foreign Ministry spokesman. Experts have indicated that the Egyptian statement seems to be a tactical agreement of Trump’s position towards Iran.
Regional powers should not adopt policies that destabilize the region,” said Abu Zaid. He also indicated that it is necessary to build trust within the region and that countries needed to stop any negative actions that could be deemed as interventions into the internal affairs of “Arab countries”.
Needless to say, Iran’s response was to point out how Trump’s decision is a violation of the clauses of the agreement and it could mean bigger implications for U.S. troops throughout the region. Rouhani also indicated that the Iranian revolution was based on the idea that religion and politics are linked and not separate. He also noted that Iran was not going to stop trying to produce weapons that they deem necessary for their protection and survival.
“I like the two-stage process. I can eliminate the deal whenever I want. In a short time, we will see whether the Congress acts upon it or not. If they do not take any measures, I will violate the deal myself,” said Trump.
Featured Image by Gage Skidmore (Flicker)