President Trump campaigned hard against the Iran nuclear agreement, but in his tenure as president, he has twice certified Iran’s compliance with the deal. Unfortunately, these certifications were not grounded in truth. The Iranian regime has not only violated the spirit of the deal as Trump has said, but the terms of the agreement itself. As such, it is time for the White House to find a way out of this disastrous deal.
From both Trump’s public comments and inside reports, we know that the president wants to force Iran out of the agreement one way or the other. In April and July, he wanted to declare Iran in violation of the agreement, but was pulled back to certification by the State Department. According to recent reports, Trump told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he would not repeat this folly in October, when the deal once again comes up for certification.
Unfortunately, President Trump finds himself in a sticky situation. The Iran deal is not unilateral; five other countries are signatories to the agreement and they are not as eager to find a way out. They have bought into the Iranian regime’s supposed compliance hook, line, and sinker, and they – like the Obama administration – foolishly believe that this deal is actually a positive development for peace. He can go before the international community and plead with them to see reason – there are plenty of specific things he can point to in order to make them understand that Iran is NOT complying with the deal – but so far, that looks like a losing proposition. That leaves him with the other possibility, which is a denial of certification. That would put the ball in Congress’s court, forcing them to evaluate the terms of the agreement and decide whether or not to “snap back” the sanctions, which Obama promised would be easy and trivial to do.
There is another option, and it could be the wisest course, politically speaking. And that is to submit the agreement to the Senate as an international treaty. This is, of course, what should have been done by the Obama administration in the first place. Because ratification of the deal would take 67 votes to pass, there’s little chance that it would. That would not only be the end of the agreement, it would rightfully restore the legislative branch’s proper authority and undo one of the blackest marks on the Obama presidency.