In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley said that it may be time for President Trump to call Iran out for not complying with the international nuclear agreement set in place by the Obama administration. Echoing hardline advisers such as former ambassador John Bolton, Haley said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a bad deal that, perhaps, should no longer be sponsored by the United States.
“If the president chooses not to certify Iranian compliance, that does not mean the United States is withdrawing from the JCPOA,” Haley said. “If the president finds that he cannot certify Iranian compliance, it would be a message to Congress that the administration believes either that Iran is in violation of the deal, or that the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior, or that the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest, or any combination of the three.”
Trump has twice certified Iran’s compliance with the agreement, but insiders say he did so with more than a little bit of reluctance. The last time he signed certification, he told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he would be loathe to certify the agreement a third time – especially if Iran’s government continues to pursue the kind of aggressive military buildup that violates the deal’s precepts. Earlier reports made it sound like it was Trump vs. the State Department when it came to the JCPOA, but Haley’s speech indicates he may have more support than the media lets on.
“I am not going to prejudge in any way what the president is going to decide next month,” Haley said. “While I have discussed it with him, I do not know what decision he will make. It is his decision to make, and his alone.”
Haley made it clear that she was not publicly advocating for decertification, but merely stating that the case for such a decision could easily be made.
Still, it’s a decision that may be necessary, given Iran’s dubious “compliance” with the deal. The agreement is bad enough, even if Iran keeps to both the letter and the spirit of the deal. By bending the rules in every way possible, they are taking a bad deal and making it almost worthless.
And as Haley noted, the consequences of Iran’s bad behavior are not to be taken lightly.
“Are we going to take care of our allies and make sure they’re comfortable,” she asked, “or are we going to look out for American national security interest?” She warned that if the other parties to the Iran nuclear agreement kept looking the other way at violations, the Islamic regime could potentially become “the next North Korea.”
At a time when no one seems to have any good ideas about what to do with the actual North Koreans, that’s a problem the world can scarcely afford to create.