Team Trump is facing up to the fact that Iran is regularly cheating on the Obama administration’s nuclear deal — even if it’s not yet clear what they’ll do about it.
“Iran has already violated parts of the agreement,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster noted on Fox News Sunday. “They’re crossing the line at times.”
True, he said, “Iran has then corrected” those breaches after being caught. But, he added, “what does that tell you about Iranian behavior?”
That is: “They’re not just walking up to the line,” they’re crossing it in such areas as centrifuge development, ballistic-missile development and enriched-uranium stockpiles.
And, again, that’s just what we know about. Tehran refuses to allow inspection of its military sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency — and the IAEA refuses to push the issue. In fact, it has actually cut the time inspectors spend on the ground in Iran.
How will Washington respond? President Trump is required to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal every 90 days; the next deadline is Oct. 15. He can literally tear it up, or he can decertify Iran’s compliance while holding off on reinstating sanctions, and let Congress debate it.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, by all accounts, is trying hard to save the deal. No surprise — that’s what diplomats do. Yet even he says Iran is, at best, only in “technical” compliance with the accord.
But as McMaster, who probably more closely reflects Trump’s thinking, says, the commander-in-chief is not prepared to live with this deeply flawed deal if doing so means “giving this regime cover to develop a nuclear capability.”
Why keep the deal when Iran is simply cheating its way into the nuclear club?
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