The Trump administration said Monday it intends to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement but acknowledged the country is in “default of the spirit” of the accord.
“The secretary of State is in the process as we speak of certifying to the Congress that the conditions that are laid out in the [Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act] have been met based on information available to the United States,” a senior administration official said, reports The Hill.
“However, the secretary of State and the president intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most dangerous threats to U.S. interests and to regional stability and to highlight the range of malign activities by Iran that extend well beyond the nuclear realm,” the official added.
The deal arranged under President Obama and maligned by candidate Trump, requires the administration to certify compliance to Congress. The announcement comes on the day of a congressional deadline stipulating that the administration must verify that Iran is meeting the provisions of the nuclear accord. Iran, in exchange for adhering to the agreement negotiated in 2015 between itself, the United States, and international powers, gets sanctions relief.
The “malign activities” outside the realm of the nuclear agreement include Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights abuses, backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and hostility to Israel, the official said. (The Hill)
“The president and the secretary of State judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent of the JCPOA which was to contribute to regional and international peace and security,” said the official.
“And as a result, the president, secretary of State, and the entire administration judge that Iran is unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA.”
Moving forward, the Trump administration intends to engage a strategy that will “address the totality of Iran’s malign behavior and not narrowly focus” solely on the nuclear accord.
The strategy includes new sanctions aimed at holding Iran responsible for its “misbehavior in the region in a bunch of fronts,” according to one of the officials.
“They are part of an ongoing campaign to hold Iran accountable for its misbehavior in ways that don’t actually touch the deal,” the official added, referring to Iran’s missile program and provocations in Middle Eastern waterways.
In June, the Senate voted 98-2 to pass a new round of sanctions on Iran that addressed its ballistic missile program, weapons transfers, human rights abuses, and support for terrorism.