Decision on Iran deal back in Trump’s court

U.S Congress appears unable to gather support to amend an existing oversight law, as he had demanded

A decision on America’s continued participation in the Iran nuclear deal could be back in President Donald Trump’s hands, as the U.S Congress appears unable to gather support to amend an existing oversight law, as he had demanded.

In October, Mr. Trump had refused to issue a certification required for the maintenance of the deal, and asked Congress to amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act — INARA — that had established legislative oversight on the operation of the deal. Mr. Trump called for stricter conditions on Iran for America’s participation in the deal — outside of the multilateral agreement it had signed — through a new domestic law. INARA allowed Congress 60 days to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions on a fast pace against Iran in the event of a decertification by the President. That deadline ends this week, and the move to introduce a new legislation has failed to take off. That leaves the deal intact, and Mr. Trump could be challenged by his conservative support base and hawkish advisers to terminate the deal altogether ahead of the next presidential certification which is due next month. INARA requires the President to make this certification every 90 days.

‘Under continuous review’

“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Mr. Trump had said, while announcing his decision to decertify the deal. “It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time,” he had said then. Other five signatories to the deal — the U.K, France, Russia, China, and Germany — have said they would continue with the deal regardless of what Mr. Trump decides. But the President is evidently more inclined to the views of his closest partners in the region, Saudi Arabia and Israel, who are pressing the U.S to walk out from the deal.

Mr. Trump had promised to terminate the deal during last year’s campaign. As in his recent decision on shifting the U.S Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the President could be guided by his political instincts rather than professional advice on this matter too.

Military intervention

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and CIA Chief Michael Pompeo, vocal advocates for the deal’s termination, have been talking of a military intervention to destroy Iran’s nuclear’s capabilities. Mr. Cotton has also argued for pushing for a regime change in Tehran. Mr. Pompeo has been building a public case on alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Iran, with public speeches and interviews. Both Republicans are advising Mr. Trump on the matter.

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