Was Trump's 'Calm Before the Storm' Comment a Signal He's About to Scrap the Iran Deal?

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Oct 06, 2017 8:00 AM
Was Trump's 'Calm Before the Storm' Comment a Signal He's About to Scrap the Iran Deal?

Meeting with senior military leaders Thursday, President Trump made a comment that’s sparking widespread speculation about possible changes in foreign policy in the near future. 

The commander in chief noted that those at the meeting were witnessing “the calm before the storm,” and when reporters questioned him about the comment, his only response was even more cryptic: “you’ll find out

Many suspected the comment had to do with reports that the White House will not certify the Iran deal, which was negotiated under the Obama administration in 2015. This would trigger a new standoff between the U.S. and Iran. 

If the administration decertifies the agreement, Congress would have a 60-day period to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran.  

“The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence and chaos across the Middle East,” Trump said during the meeting.

“That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions,” he added. “You will be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

The statement was made as he sat alongside senior security officials, the most senior of whom have said repeatedly that Iran is abiding by the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The defence secretary, James Mattis, said this week that staying with the deal, under which Iran accepted strict curbs on its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, was in US national security interests.

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Joseph Dunford, recently said that pulling out of the multilateral deal, which was signed by some of Washington’s closest allies, would affect US credibility and could hinder its ability to strike security agreements in the future.

Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and national security adviser, HR McMaster, are both thought to have advised Trump not to withhold certification. The European signatories to the deal – the UK, France and Germany – have urged Trump to uphold it, and are now focusing their energies on lobbying Congress not to reimpose sanctions, which could prove fatal to the agreement. (The Guardian)

Trump also took aim at North Korea during the meeting, saying the U.S. would not “allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or allies with unimaginable loss of life.”

He added that the U.S. must “do what we must do to prevent that from happening and it will be done, if necessary. Believe me."