NCRI – Several months ago, United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certified that Iranian regime was complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. Tillerson is required to verify Iran’s compliance every 90 days. In April he declared that Iran was complying with the deal and stated that sanctions relief was essential for the national security interests of the country. Many other officials in the Trump administration disagreed with this.
However, several Republicans in Congress want Tillerson to deny certification this time around so that Congress can restore some sanctions. Four Senators – Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) – wrote to him on Tuesday.
When Tillerson certified Iran’s compliance before, he said that although he recognised that Iran is one of the most worrying state sponsors of terrorism, it was still within the interests of the US to certify it because the Iran policy review was in progress and it was not the time to make significant changes to the approach.
However, three months have passed and the Senators are demanding action. They want the Secretary of State to denounce Iran for its violations of the deal and its belligerent activities immediately.
The letter stated: “We believe that a change in that policy is long overdue. As we near the end of another 90-day review period, U.S. interests would be best served by a sober accounting of Iran’s JCPOA violations as well as the regime’s aggressive and destabilizing behavior.”
The Senators listed numerous terms that have been violated and gave examples of behaviour by Iran that goes against the deal’s objective of ensuring that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon.
The review that must happen every 90 days is to ensure that the national security interests of the US are protected, but the Senators have said that it is precisely this reason that there needs to be more pressure on Iran.
They highlighted that the Iranian regime is continuing to act aggressively towards its neighbours and is sponsoring terrorism. They also mentioned that the people of Iran are being oppressed and that the ballistic missile program is being developed. “In light of these actions, there is simply no basis on which to make a certification that U.S. national security is bolstered by continued sanctions relief. In fact, a continuation of current policy would be tantamount to rewarding Iran’s belligerence.”
Some experts warn that the deal could unravel if Tillerson does not certify compliance because Iran and the other signatories of the deal could argue that the US is backing away from it. Officials in Congress say that this is not necessarily the case, but Congress could decide that sanctions could be restored. No action is also another possibility. The Trump administration could theoretically use the threat of sanctions as leverage.