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Haley lays out case for U.S. to leave Iran deal

07 September 2017

A senior US official said Tuesday that if President Donald Trump decides not to certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, it does not mean that the United States will withdraw from the multilateral agreement.

"If the president chooses not to certify Iranian compliance, that does not mean the United States is withdrawing from the JCPOA", Haley told an audience at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute Tuesday.

Haley acknowledged that America's European allies want the United States to stay in the deal, but she said the United States has to determine for itself if the JCPOA is in the best interest of U.S. national security.

The deal, negotiated with Iran by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, eased economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for its destroying or disabling most of its nuclear infrastructure.

Congress mandated a quarterly presidential certification that Iran is meeting its requirements, which Trump has twice signed off on with reluctance. That would be a first step toward a USA withdrawal and would trigger a 60-day congressional review that Haley said would be beneficial.

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"This is critically important, and nearly completely overlooked".

Haley deftly explained that there are three separate consideration with regard to the Iran nuclear agreement, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The nuclear deal freed up a large amount of cash for Iran as sanctions were lifted.

The key problem for the Trump administration's desire to withdraw from the JCPOA is simple: Iran is actually adhering to the terms of the deal.

"Why this middle path where you decertify and force Congress to make this hard decision for you, rather than make this hard decision yourself?" he asked. However the administration tries to frame it, the responsibility should be his alone as well. Does Congress want to reapply sanctions, and if so, how prepared is it to deal with the consequences? "It's very easy to just talk about compliance and the JCPOA", she added.

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"We must consider not only the technical violations but also (Iran's) violation of 2231 and its long history of aggression", Haley declared.

"Leave them be. Don't threaten North Korea so much, and she will pursue her life and that of her people", he said. Haley even suggested that Iran could have hundreds of covert nuclear sites which cannot be inspected under the deal, but offered no evidence for her assertion.

A week later, Trump indicated in an interview that the next time certification is due - by mid-October - he does not expect to find the Iranians compliant.

Tehran recently dismissed murmurings from the United States about possible nuclear inspections, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying that such investigations are not necessary under the terms of the accord.

Congressional leaders have not revealed their thinking publicly.

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US law requires the president to notify Congress every 90 days on whether Iran is adhering to the accord, which aimed to limit Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions related to the program. In July, shortly after Trump last certified Iranian compliance, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it was designating 16 entities and individuals for activities supporting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Haley lays out case for U.S. to leave Iran deal