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Hahaha....Trump giving Iran the freedom to develop nukes…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: October 06, 2017, 08:43:42 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear
deal is not in the national interest


The move would punt the issue to a reluctant Congress
and could lead to blowing up the agreement altogether.


By ANNE GEARAN and KAROUN DEMIRJIAN | 7:26PM EDT - Thursday, October 05, 2017

President Donald J. Trump wants to axe the Iran nuclear deal. — Photograph: Getty Images.
President Donald J. Trump wants to axe the Iran nuclear deal. — Photograph: Getty Images.

PRESIDENT TRUMP is expected to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress, people briefed on the White House strategy said on Thursday.

The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, potentially derailing a deal limiting Iran's nuclear activities reached in 2015 with the United States and five other nations.

But Trump would hold off on recommending that Congress reimpose sanctions, which would constitute a clearer break from the pact, according to four people familiar with aspects of the president's thinking.

The decision would amount to a middle ground of sorts between Trump, who has long wanted to withdraw from the agreement completely, and many congressional leaders and senior diplomatic, military and national security advisers, who say the deal is worth preserving with changes if possible.

This week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed qualified support for the deal during congressional testimony. And Mattis suggested he did not believe taking the step to decertify would scuttle the agreement.

Trump is expected to deliver a speech, tentatively scheduled for October 12th, laying out a larger strategy for confronting the nation he blames for terrorism and instability throughout the Middle East.

Officials cautioned that plans could still change, and the White House would not confirm plans for a speech or its contents. Trump faces an October 15th deadline to report to Congress on whether Iran is complying with the agreement and whether he judges the deal to be in the U.S. national security interest.

“The administration looks forward to sharing details of our Iran strategy at the appropriate time,” said Michael Anton, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

The fate of the nuclear pact is only one consideration in that larger strategy, U.S. officials said, although given Trump's focus on the deal as an “embarrassment,” it is the most high-profile element.

The agreement signed under President Barack Obama was intended to close off the potential for Iran to quickly build a nuclear bomb by curbing nuclear activities the United States and other partners considered most troubling. It allowed some uranium enrichment to continue for what Iran claims is peaceful medical research and energy; the country says it has never sought nuclear weapons. In exchange, world powers lifted crippling U.S. and international economic sanctions.

At issue now is the fate of U.S. sanctions lifted by Obama and, by extension, whether the United States will move to break the deal. That could open an international breach with European partners who have warned they will not follow suit.

Outreach for a “transatlantic understanding” about reopening or supplementing the deal is likely to be part of Trump's announcement, according to one Iran analyst who has discussed the strategy with administration officials. Several other people familiar with a nine-month review of U.S. military, diplomatic, economic and intelligence policy toward Iran spoke on the condition of anonymity because aspects of the policy are not yet set, and Trump has not announced his decision.

Trump said last month that he had decided what to do on Iran but that he would not divulge the decision at that time.

Welcoming military leaders to a White House dinner on Thursday night, Trump said Iran had not lived up to its end of the nuclear bargain.

“The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East,” he said. “That is why we must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.”

The president's senior national security advisers agreed within the past several weeks to recommend that Trump “decertify” the agreement at the October 15th deadline, two of those people said.

The administration has begun discussing possible legislation to “strengthen” the agreement, congressional aides and others said — a “fix it or nix it” approach suggested by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Senator Tom Cotton (Arkansas), a leading Republican hawk on Iran.

But the prospects of such an approach are highly uncertain, and many supporters of the deal consider it a dodge.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last month that he will not reopen the agreement for negotiation. Separately, representatives of Iran, China and Russia told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the same thing during a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session last month, two senior diplomats familiar with that meeting said.

Cotton appeared to preview the main elements of the administration's plan this week, although he said he does not know exactly what Trump plans to do. The two met on Thursday at the White House.

In a speech on Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, Cotton said Trump should “decline to certify the deal and begin the work of strengthening it.”

He said decertification should be based on a finding that the deal is not in the U.S. “vital national security interest,” citing “the long catalogue of the regime's crimes and perfidy against the United States, as well as the deal's inherent weakness.”

But Cotton said he would not push for the immediate reimposition of sanctions, as some conservative lawmakers and outside lobbying groups are doing.

He laid out proposals for Congress to pass new stipulations for U.S. participation in the deal, including elimination of the “sunset clauses” under which restrictions on some Iranian nuclear activities expire after several years, tougher inspections requirements and new curbs on Iran's ballistic and cruise missile programs.

Cotton claimed that a unified statement from Congress would help Trump forge a new agreement among European and other allies and strengthen his hand for renegotiation.

“The world needs to know we're serious, we're willing to walk away, and we're willing to reimpose sanctions — and a lot more than that,” Cotton said. “And they'll know that when the president declines to certify the deal, and not before.”

In the Senate, plans have been underway for months to respond to a presidential decertification.

Senator Bob Corker (Republican-Tennessee), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has been Capitol Hill's point person on discussions with the White House. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (Democrat-Maryland) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) also have been made aware of plans being discussed with the White House and State Department.

McConnell is not eager to take on the issue at a time when the Senate calendar is full and midterm elections are only a year off, according to congressional aides and a Western diplomat who has met with him.

“He's not excited about getting the ‘Old Maid’,” said the diplomat, referring to the card game where the player left holding a certain card is the loser.

Still, Republican leaders say they are confident that they can craft a legislative response to the president's decision that can address deficiencies in the deal and avoid turning the issue into a political litmus test for the GOP.

Some Republicans have also been urging the president to take a critical public stance against the deal — without blowing it up.

“The president should come out and say, ‘Hey, we're going to enforce this, and right now I think these different provisions are being violated’,” Senator Dan Sullivan (Republican-Alabama) said last week, adding that Trump should tell Iran it has a limited window to fix problems. “If they don't, do what [then-Secretary of State] John Kerry and Barack Obama said they were going to do, which is snap back sanctions.”

Representative Adam B. Schiff (Democrat-California) said a decertification would undermine global confidence in the deal and in U.S. commitments generally.

“If the president fails to certify the deal while saying Iran is complying with it, it's a destructive political gesture,” Schiff said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-California) said that beginning a process that could result in the United States withdrawing from the Iran deal would go against “advice from his own national security team and our closest allies.”

“Unilaterally abandoning this agreement will make the world less safe,” she said in a statement.

A half-dozen Democrats who went to the White House on Wednesday evening to meet with national security adviser H.R. McMaster came away with the impression that he agreed with Mattis and Dunford.

The group who visited with McMaster to discuss Iran included Cardin and Senators Robert Menendez (Democrat-New Jersey), Christopher A. Coons (Democrat-Delaware), Joe Manchin III (Democrat-West Virginia), Heidi Heitkamp (Democrat-North Dakota) and Angus King (Independent-Maine), according to a person familiar with the meeting.

Senator Cory Gardner (Republican-Colorado) called the nuclear deal “very, very flawed” but not completely ineffective — a common view among Republicans and a potential starting point for negotiations with Democrats.

“What we have to figure out is how to actually accomplish what we were well on our way to do before Barack Obama gave them a patient pathway to a nuclear bomb,” Gardner said, referring to what he and other Republicans see as the deal's failure to prevent Iran from developing weapons down the road.

Those concerns are one of the main areas that Republicans are planning to address in their legislative response to the president's decision, according to a person familiar with plans being hammered out between the White House, State Department and Capitol Hill.


Abby Phillip and Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.

• Anne Gearan is a national politics correspondent for The Washington Post.

• Karoun Demirjian covers defense and foreign policy for The Washington Post and was previously a correspondent based in The Post's bureau in Moscow, Russia.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Iranian foreign minister: U.S. must prove itself as a reliable negotiating partner

 • U.S., Iran accuse one another of undermining nuclear deal

 • Text of Iran nuclear deal


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-plans-to-declare-that-iran-nuclear-deal-is-not-in-the-national-interest/2017/10/05/825c916e-a9e3-11e7-b3aa-c0e2e1d41e38_story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 08:43:59 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Trump's decision on Iran nuclear deal could cause major breach
with allies in Europe


European diplomats are urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill not to reimpose sanctions.

By KAREN DeYOUNG and CAROL MORELLO | 8:13PM EDT - Thursday, October 05, 2017

British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darrouch, third from left, speaks during a discussion on “Europe and the Iran Deal” with French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud, second from left, German Ambassador to the United States Peter Wittig, right and European Union Ambassador to the United States David O'Sullivan, left, at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. on September 25th, 2017. — Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darrouch, third from left, speaks during a discussion on “Europe and the Iran Deal” with French
Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud, second from left, German Ambassador to the United States Peter Wittig, right and European
Union Ambassador to the United States David O'Sullivan, left, at the Atlantic Council in Washington D.C. on Septtember 25th, 2017.
 — Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


MORE THAN any other issue that has threatened transatlantic cohesion this year, President Trump's decision to decertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal could start a chain of events that would sharply divide the United States from its closest traditional allies in the world.

“After the Paris climate decision,” in which Trump withdrew the United States from a widely supported, painfully negotiated accord, “this could push multilateralism to the breaking point,” said a senior official from one of the three European signatories to the Iran deal.

None of the three — Britain, France and Germany — believes Iran is in violation, and each has said publicly it will not renegotiate the nuclear agreement.

U.S. imposition of sanctions affecting banks that even indirectly do business in Iran would doubtless influence those countries' companies, they say, and would be considered an unfriendly act.

“We will not follow the United States in reneging on our international obligations with this deal,” said a second official. “Not the E-3, nor the rest of the 28” members of the European Union.

Trump is expected to give a speech late next week announcing his decision and outlining the results of a months-long Iran policy review. People familiar with his thinking say he will not certify that Iran is honoring its commitments and will declare that sticking with the deal is no longer in the U.S. national interest.

Nothing will happen immediately, as the decision would be punted to Congress. The Senate could decide to restore pre-deal sanctions on Iran with a simple majority of 51, including a vote by Vice President Pence to break any tie.

In that case, Iran could call for a meeting of the majority-ruled committee of signatories and declare that the United States has violated the deal, an assertion with which the Europeans think they would be hard put to disagree. That would put them on the same side as two other signatories — China and Russia — that are sure to support Iran, leaving the United States as a minority of one.

“What do we do? What do we say?” asked the first European official, one of several from the signatory countries who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the sensitive diplomatic issue. “It would be a big crisis.”

The Europeans insist that everyone with whom they have spoken inside the Trump administration — except for Trump himself — has expressed opposition to decertification. But they have for some time considered his decision a foregone conclusion and have directed their attention to Congress, where even some Republicans who have long opposed the deal as deeply flawed worry that a reimposition of sanctions might make matters worse.

“We're working the Hill a lot,” the first official said. “What we understand is that there is no inclination in the Senate to kill the deal by voting immediate sanctions. Staffers tell us that nothing is decided.”

“But we're convinced somebody like Cotton will go out with a bill,” said the official, referring to Senator Tom Cotton (Republican-Arkansas). “That will cause a crisis among the Republicans…. Nobody wants to appear to be defending Iran. Nobody wants to appear to be defending Obama.”

The White House has seemed to signal to Republicans that they can decide not to immediately reimpose sanctions, and Cotton himself, an outspoken hawk on Iran who met on Thursday with Trump, said this week that he has “no intention right now to introduce … sanctions legislation.” While a law passed when the deal was done gives Congress 60 days to reimpose the sanctions lifted by the agreement with relative ease, lawmakers can take more time and pass a new sanctions law whenever they want.

“I'm not sure 60 days is enough,” Cotton said on Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, for the United States to practice “coercive diplomacy” to bend others to its will. It might, he said, take until spring, but no longer.

“I hope we don't have to coerce allies. I'd like to persuade allies,” Cotton said. “Many of them don't require much persuasion, allies in the Middle East, for instance,” although they are not signatories to the deal. “But ultimately, countries have to make a decision, if it comes to that. Do they want to deal with the United States' $19 trillion economy, or do they want to deal with Iran's economy … about the size of Maryland?”

Even if European political leaders are unpersuaded, he said, European businesses, vulnerable to U.S. sanctions if they continue dealing with Iran, may be. And if that does not work, he said, “let there be no doubt about this point: If forced to take action, the United States has the ability to totally destroy Iran's nuclear infrastructure. And if they choose to rebuild it, we could destroy it again, until they get the picture.”

Such comments infuriate the Europeans. “I would remind our American friends that when we started to impose sanctions, the United States did not have any trade with Iran … [and] we carried the burden” of financial losses, Gérard Araud, France's ambassador to the United States, said last week at the Atlantic Council.

A Western diplomat in Geneva said the Europeans are contemplating reviving regulations the E.U. used to shield its companies and individuals from U.S. secondary sanctions in the 1990s. “Everyone's looking at options,” the diplomat said.

Any deal without the United States would be “very fragile” in terms of keeping the incentive for Iran to uphold its side of the bargain, said a senior executive with a large multinational corporation. “It will also play to the hard-liners in Iran and help shift power back to them,” the executive said.

Long-standing Republican antipathy to the deal has come back to haunt its creators. Negotiators had envisioned a U.S. president who would justify staying in the arrangement as long as Iran lived up to its obligations, not a die-hard opponent who has branded the agreement an “embarrassment”. The 60-day, expedited “snapback” provision in U.S. law was designed to punish Iran quickly in the event it violated the deal and did not envision that the United States would breach it.

Europeans are frustrated with what they consider misperceptions about what the agreement says and what it was intended to do. While Trump and other critics say Iran got a $100 billion “payoff,” Europeans counter that the money belonged to Iran and was frozen in Western banks under sanctions. And although detractors say all of the deal's restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will be moot when some provisions of the arrangement expire in 2025, Iran will remain under the requirements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which forbids weapons development.

And negotiators of the deal deliberately separated the nuclear program from their many complaints that Trump and others say are now reason to renegotiate or abrogate it — Iran's development of ballistic missiles, its destabilization of the Middle East and its support for terrorism.

“We can speak with the administration about containing Iran's malign influence,” the second European official said. “The question is: Does the U.S. have a strategy for that? Maybe they do. I don't know.”


Erin Cunningham in Geneva contributed to this report.

• Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for The Washington Post.

• Carol Morello is the diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, covering the State Department.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump: Iran has not ‘lived up to the spirit of their agreement’

 • VIDEO: Senator Tom Cotton on disagreement with Defense Secretary Mattis over Iran nuclear deal

 • VIDEO: Senator Tom Cotton: ‘Not in our national security interests’ to recertify Iran nuclear deal

 • Washington Post editorial: Trump's dangerous folly on the Iran deal

 • Jennifer Rubin: The United States is not on the same page with allies on Iran

 • Negotiator on Iran nuke deal reportedly sentenced to prison

 • A reasonable approach to the Iran deal


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-decision-on-iran-nuclear-deal-could-cause-major-breach-with-european-allies/2017/10/05/cfe165d0-aa02-11e7-b3aa-c0e2e1d41e38_story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 08:50:09 pm »


Ooooooh.....things could be about to get interesting.

If Trump tears up the Iran nuclear deal, Iran will be free to develop nuclear weapons.

This will eventually result in the entertaining spectacle of Iran and Israel lobbing nukes at each other.

That will DEFINITELY be one amusement show to get the beer & popcorn in for, eh?




from the Los Angeles Times....

In direct challenge to Trump, Iran's president says
it could restart its nuclear program ‘within hours’


President's warning to Trump comes in response to ballistic missile sanctions.

By RAMIN MOSTAGHIM and SHASHANK BENGALI | 10:45AM PDT - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

In a direct response to new sanctions passed by the U.S., Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's warning challenged the Trump administration's confrontational policies. — Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
In a direct response to new sanctions passed by the U.S., Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's warning challenged the Trump
administration's confrontational policies. — Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency.


IRAN's president on Tuesday warned it could restart its nuclear program “within hours or days” if the Trump administration continued its confrontational policies toward the Islamic Republic.

President Hassan Rouhani's remarks were a direct response to Trump's increasingly bellicose rhetoric toward Iran and his announcement of fresh sanctions on individuals and businesses connected to Iran's ballistic missile program.

Trump has also pledged to undo the 2015 agreement that Iran signed with the United States and five other world powers under which it suspended activities that could have led to the production of a nuclear bomb in exchange for a sharp reduction in international sanctions that had hammered its economy.

Rouhani told lawmakers in Iran that “sanctions and bullying” by Trump administration officials were the type of “failed policies that forced their predecessors to the negotiating table” to reach the landmark nuclear deal, one of the Obama administration's signature foreign policy achievements.

Rouhani said Iran could quickly resume its nuclear activities and increase its quantities of enriched uranium — a precursor to building a nuclear bomb — to levels higher than before the agreement.

“If they want to return to the previous position, definitely, not within a week or a month, but within hours or days, we will be back to a much more advanced stage than we were during our last negotiations,” the state IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying.

Rouhani has staked his presidency on the nuclear deal, and won reelection this year in part because the agreement remains widely popular in Iran, even among anti-Western hard-liners who believe it averted a military confrontation with the U.S.

It was the first time Rouhani threatened to break the agreement, a sign of how rapidly the war of words between the U.S. and Iran has escalated since Trump took office.

It was not clear if Rouhani's comments were bluster or if Iran could indeed restart its nuclear activities quickly. United Nations inspectors have access to Iran's nuclear facilities under the agreement and have said the Islamic Republic is complying with its terms.

But last week, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency and an architect of the 2015 agreement, Ali Akbar Salehi, suggested that Iran could return to 20% uranium enrichment levels “in four or five days … to catch [the U.S.] by surprise.”

Congress has repeatedly certified that Iran is complying with the agreement — as it is required to do every 90 days — but Trump has called the deal “a disaster” and suggested that he would push to have the certification revoked.

Meanwhile, he has ratcheted up pressure on Iran by announcing a massive arms deal with rival Saudi Arabia and unilateral economic sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program. The missile program is not covered by the nuclear agreement, but Iran believes any additional U.S. sanctions violate the spirit of the deal.

Iran responded this week by announcing increased spending on its military, including an additional $300 million for the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a paramilitary organization led by hard-liners.

It also announced that the government would prepare a strategic plan to combat the United States' “hegemony-seeking policies” and “interference” in the Middle East.

“Iran is sure that the sanctions are a failure,” said Hamid Reza Taraghi, a political analyst close to the supreme leader. “What President Rouhani said today is a threat against America's threat.”


Special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim reported from Tehran and Los Angeles Times staff writer Shashank Bengali from Mumbai, India.

• Ramin Mostaghim has been the Los Angeles Times' Tehran-based special correspondent since early 2007. He has worked as a journalist, producer and translator for Iranian and Western media for three decades. Since joining the L.A. Times, he has covered Iran's capture and release of British sailors in 2007, the parliamentary elections of 2008, the disputed presidential election of 2009 and its violent aftermath. He graduated with a degree in zoology from Razi University in Kermanshah and maintains strong personal connections to Iran's Kurdish western provinces and northern Caspian Sea region.

• Shashank Bengali is the Los Angeles Times' South Asia correspondent, covering a stretch of countries from Iran to Myanmar. He joined the L.A. Times in 2012 as a national security reporter in the Washington bureau. He has reported from more than 50 countries since beginning his career with McClatchy Newspapers, where he served as a foreign correspondent in Africa and the Middle East. In 2016, he shared in the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the L.A. Times staff for coverage of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California Originally from Cerritos, California, Shashank holds degrees in journalism and French from USC and a master's in public policy from Harvard. He lives with his wife in Mumbai, India.

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iran-nuclear-20170815-story.html
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 12:42:47 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

EDITORIAL: Just admit it Mr. Trump, you're wrong
about the Iran nuclear deal


“Decertify and fix” isn't a considered strategy; it's an attempt to contain the damage
from a president's refusal to admit that he was wrong.


By the LOS ANGELES TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD | 3:00AM PDT - Saturday, October 07, 2017

President Trump answers questions from the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington D.C. on September 24th. — Photograph: Olivier Douliery/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia EFE.
President Trump answers questions from the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington D.C. on September 24th.
 — Photograph: Olivier Douliery/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia EFE.


WITH President Trump, one can never be sure what action he will take on a controversial issue until he takes it — as he himself famously said, “You want to be unpredictable.” But several reports suggest that, after twice certifying to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the international agreement placing limits on its nuclear program, Trump will refuse to do so on October 15th.

That may sound like a prelude to U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, the reimposition of economic sanctions and, potentially, the resumption of nuclear activities by Iran. But to hear the Trump administration tell it, decertification wouldn't have that effect at all.

Indeed, some of Trump's advisors are even suggesting that decertification would lead to negotiations that would improve the agreement; they talk about a strategy of “decertify and fix”.

That scenario, however, seems highly unlikely and, frankly, it doesn't strike us as the most likely explanation for a decision by Trump to disregard the advice of some of his key advisors and refuse to issue a third certification. A more plausible explanation is that this president is simply unable to admit that he was wrong when he denounced the agreement on the campaign trail as “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

The truth about the deal is that while it is imperfect, it is clearly in the interest of the United States. As Trump's own defense secretary, James N. Mattis, told Congress this week, it's “something that the president should consider staying with.” Equally important, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has been complying with its terms.

Why is Trump being asked to certify Iranian compliance on October 15th? The problem lies with language in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the law passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President Obama in 2015.

Under the law, the president must certify every 90 days not only that Iran is complying with the letter of the nuclear agreement but also that the suspension of U.S. sanctions against Iran is “appropriate and proportionate to the specific and verifiable measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program” and “vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

This imprecise language would allow Trump to refuse to certify Iranian compliance even though Iran has been abiding by the agreement. At that point Congress would have 60 days to debate whether to reimpose sanctions.

The premise of “decertify and fix” seems to be that Congress wouldn't actually follow through and reimpose sanctions. Instead, the mere possibility that it might do so would pressure Iran to return to the bargaining table to make new concessions, such as extending the time period of restrictions in the agreement on its nuclear-related activities or agreeing to limits on its ballistic missile program. Supposedly, American allies would join the U.S. in pressing Iran to make further concessions.

This is a highly speculative strategy and it could easily backfire. The U.S. and its allies should explore the possibility of engaging Iran in negotiations over extending the life of the nuclear agreement or placing limitations on its ballistic missile program. But such negotiations will be less, not more, likely if Trump throws the status of the current agreement into confusion by refusing to certify Iranian compliance and tossing the issue back to Congress.

Why would Iran consider negotiating a new agreement with representatives of the U.S. when this country is attempting to undermine an agreement it signed only two years ago? And why would U.S. allies go along with this gambit? They wouldn't.

“Decertify and fix” isn’t a considered strategy; it's an attempt to contain the damage from a president's refusal to admit that he was wrong. If Trump really wants to be unpredictable, he'll put the interest of the country first and certify again that Iran is in compliance.


http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-iran-20171007-story.html
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 02:08:07 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

‘Our job is to analyze facts,’ head of nuclear agency says

IAEA chief focuses on technical issues, avoids interpreting criticism.

By SHASHANK BENGALI | 3:00AM PDT - Sunday, October 08, 2017

Yukiya Amano has led the IAEA since 2009. He says worries over weapons distract attention from constructive applications of nuclear energy. — Photograph: International Atomic Energy Agency.
Yukiya Amano has led the IAEA since 2009. He says worries over weapons distract attention from constructive applications of nuclear energy.
 — Photograph: International Atomic Energy Agency.


VIENNA — As the world's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency is responsible for ensuring nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes. That has rarely been easy.

Established as an agency of the United Nations in 1957, the IAEA has been at the center of one of the world's biggest non-proliferation crises — in Iran, where its inspectors are monitoring the 2015 nuclear deal. They are barred from the other, in North Korea, which kicked the agency out in 2009.

Director-General Yukiya Amano, a Japanese diplomat, has led the agency since 2009 and was recently elected to a third term. In a recent interview, he defended the IAEA's inspections program in Iran and said worries over weapons distracted attention from constructive applications of nuclear energy. Here are excerpts from the conversation.

Q: Are you disappointed when critics of the Iran deal question the IAEA's ability to monitor Iran's nuclear program?

A: We are a technical organization and I am discharging my responsibilities based on rules, based on the IAEA standard safeguards practice. We simply keep on working and monitoring and verifying the nuclear-related commitments made by Iran under the [nuclear deal] in an impartial, objective and professional manner. So, whatever happens, we keep on working.

Q: Are you inspecting Iranian military sites?

A: When we identify the need, we seek access to the locations. We don't make a difference between civilian and military locations, [but] we don't discuss details of where we go.

Q: Iranian officials insist that military sites are off-limits, when you're saying that isn't the case. Are those comments unhelpful?

A: We hear many remarks, not only from Iran, but from other countries too. But our job is to analyze the facts. Facts mean nuclear material and facilities related to nuclear material. The function and objective of the IAEA is not to analyze remarks.

The IAEA has produced seven reports on Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal, but critics say you're being too soft on Iran and not providing enough details.

The information collected by inspectors must be kept confidential. These people complain that they don't have information related to Iran, but they don't have information about Germany, Japan or Kenya either. It's like a doctor. People go to a doctor with the understanding that he won't disclose sensitive information.

Q: But you have the discretion to decide what to release. If the Iran inspections are going smoothly, why not disclose more information to respond to your critics?

A: Discretion means when I have a good reason. It doesn't mean the director-general can do whatever he likes to do. When there is concern of a violation, and when there is a U.N. resolution, yes. But it is not the practice that some countries ask more and I say, “Let's give more,” or, “Let's give less.”

Q: If President Trump puts more pressure on Iran, will IAEA inspectors lose the access they currently enjoy?

A: It's very difficult to foresee what will happen. As we are a technical organization … speculation does not make sense for us. We have cameras, we have [electronic equipment] seals, we have inspectors, so we are factual and impartial and that is our advantage.

Q: What is the IAEA doing in North Korea, where the last inspectors were thrown out in 2009?

A: We are observing the North Korean nuclear program through satellite imagery and collecting open source information. I decided to establish a small team in August with the objective to enhance our capability to monitor the North Korean nuclear program and enhance our readiness to go back to North Korea. I don't mean that I see an immediate opportunity. It's obvious the situation is very serious and grave. Their nuclear program is making progress. Therefore, we need to update the training of our inspectors, procure the necessary equipment and make a verification plan … so that if we are authorized, we can send our inspectors at short notice.

Q: Nuclear power produces less carbon than fossil fuels. How can it help combat climate change?

A: The amount of carbon dioxide emissions that the use of nuclear energy can reduce — it's equivalent to the amount emitted by India or Russia. That is a huge amount. Thirty countries use nuclear power for the time being, and about 30 more are interested. In countries where people feel the effects of climate change, where we need to develop new plant varieties, if we apply gamma rays, we can accelerate plant mutations and identify the right crop varieties that are resistant to disease. Ocean acidification has become a huge problem all over the world, but if you observe radiation coming from isotopes, you can diagnose the health of oceans and that is very helpful to establish the response.

Q: But in your home country, Japan, the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster turned public opinion against nuclear energy. What needs to happen to restore public confidence?

A: There was a belief in Japan that a serious nuclear accident would not happen. Preparedness and response were not enough. The independence of the regulatory body was not enough. It has been reformed. A lot of measures were taken both in Japan and globally. All the countries that use nuclear power undertook stress tests to review if their plants would withstand severe natural hazards. They have taken measures where needed, and a lot of safety standards have been reviewed and strengthened.

Q: How does the agency promote nuclear power for uses people don't often consider, such as medicine?

A: Nuclear technology is very useful to achieve the U.N.'s sustainable development goals, for human health and animal health. Nuclear technology was helpful to diagnose Ebola and Zika, and nuclear medicine and radiotherapy are essential in certain medical areas, such as diagnosing foot-and-mouth disease in cattle. Just recently, we organized a seminar on how nuclear technology can diagnose early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. It allows us to look inside the human body with precision.

Q: Is it a challenge to focus attention on those issues, when the world is worried about weapons programs?

A: We should pay maximum attention so that nuclear materials are not used for weapons purposes. That is our basic purpose. We need to tell the public that nuclear energy can be very useful and can make a huge difference for the lives of ordinary people.


• Shashank Bengali is the Los Angeles Times' South Asia correspondent, covering a stretch of countries from Iran to Myanmar. He joined the L.A. Times in 2012 as a national security reporter in the Washington bureau. He has reported from more than 50 countries since beginning his career with McClatchy Newspapers, where he served as a foreign correspondent in Africa and the Middle East. In 2016, he shared in the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Los Angeles Times staff for coverage of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Originally from Cerritos, California, Shashank holds degrees in journalism and French from USC and a master's in public policy from Harvard. He lives with his wife in Mumbai, India.

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