After baseless Trump decertification, Congress must preserve Iran deal


Anna Schumann


 Former Congressman and arms control expert: Absent any evidence of Iranian violations, Congress has an obligation to preserve the Iran nuclear agreement.

(October 13, 2017 \\ Washington) Ignoring all evidence and testimony from military leaders, President Trump has “decertified” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), the President is required to certify that Iran is in compliance with the agreement every 90 days. Following President Trump’s baseless action, Congress now has a 60-day window during which it can choose to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions that were waived as part of the agreement. Should that happen, the United States would be in violation of its international commitments and at odds with our closest allies. 

To be clear: there is no evidence of any Iranian violations of the agreement. This simple fact has been reaffirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — the international monitors in charge of verifying the agreement — as well as senior military commanders such as General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General John Hyten, the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Secretary of Defense James Mattis also stated that it is in the U.S. national security interest to remain a part of the agreement, absent any clear Iranian violations.

Former Congressman John Tierney, Executive Director of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, commented:

“Without a shred of evidence to support his actions, President Trump has set the stage for a major national security disaster. If Congress re-imposes nuclear sanctions against Iran, the international agreement could fall apart. Without the JCPOA, all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will collapse, and the international community will lose all access and insight into Iran’s nuclear facilities. The chances of another war in the Middle East will drastically increase.

The ball is now in the hands of Congress. I know my former colleagues have been watching how President Trump has handled the situation with North Korea. I doubt any of them are eager to see him take on a second nuclear crisis.” 

Mr. Tierney added: “Over the last few years, Congress has been rightly criticized for inaction. In this case, we would all be better off if Congress did absolutely nothing. In fact, national and global security depends on it.”