Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress

Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran Iraq war, in Tehran

Mr Trump hates former president Barack Obama's Iran deal, just as he hates his Affordable Care Act and his deal on helping the children of illegal immigrants. But it's not what the nuclear deal is about.

Most of the president's address amounted to a bill of grievances with Iran: anger at its support for militant groups like Hezbollah, alarm over its testing of ballistic missiles, and fundamental mistrust of its repressive, theocratic leadership. And that can only strengthen the hardliners in Tehran at the expense of the moderates.

Dealing with an ambitious and powerful Iran thus entails a broad range of other open-ended challenges that define the ever-turbulent Middle East. Without the JCPOA, however, those challenges would become even more daunting. "And this administration doesn't have the greatest track record for thinking through and planning around the potential downside implications of its provocative gestures". Congress has 60 days to reintroduce some or all of the suspended sanctions but is unlikely to do so. The US backed Saddam Hussein during his war with Iran in the 1980s, even turning a blind eye to Saddam's widespread use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, warned Sunday that President Trump's efforts to weaken the 2015 nuclear agreement will broadly harm U.S. international credibility. It also wants to tighten verification and inspections and eliminate a provision in the agreement that allows Iran to continue nuclear research and development.

Maintaining the health of the deal relies in no small part on Iran getting past its longstanding mistrust of the United States and seeing the deal as something that's in its interest to maintain.

You're a member of Congress who opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the grounds that the plan had critical flaws and the Obama administration had in essence given away too much without permanently cutting off Iran's path to a nuclear weapon. Under President Franklin Roosevelt, it meant forming a diverse, bipartisan cabinet that would present conflicting points of view, allowing the president to draw his own informed conclusions on policy. Iran said that would amount to a declaration of war.

They said they share Trump's concerns about Iran's missile program and other regional activities.

Neither are part of the legal requirements of the nuclear deal.

America's new Iran policy is more or less the reverse of Teddy Roosevelt's famous dictum. And we feel that that is one of weaknesses under the agreement, so we're going to stay in.

Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order. Secretary Tillerson has denied the threat, but pointedly did not deny the slur on Trump's intelligence (although his State Department spokeswoman did deny it). But experts think it's nothing good. And so for the nation, this is a signal moment.

The leaders of Europe's three largest economies directly rebuked Trump's claim that Iran "committed multiple violations of the agreement", noting in their statement that "the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran's compliance with the [agreement]".

Firstly, is this the beginning of an attempt to sabotage the deal?

And privately they will be worried on two levels.

As for the future of Trump's national security team, questions abound.

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