Archive for the ‘McMaster on Iranian compliance with JCPOA’ category

The case for a ‘clean withdrawal’ from the Iran Nuclear Deal

September 28, 2017

The case for a ‘clean withdrawal’ from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Center for Security Policy, Fred Fleitz, September 28, 2017

(Please see also, Omni Ceren: Decertification Approaches and How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal by Amb. Bolton. Iran has already received lots of money from Obama’s America and may well have made significant progress on making nukes and the missiles to deliver them. Would Iran forego further nuke-related technological advances to renegotiate the JCPOA with America and her allies? That seems highly unlikely if we withdraw, and even more unlikely if we remain, as McMaster and Tillerson apparently desire. — DM

Now, with the president reportedly determined to “decertify,” Tillerson, McMaster and others who oppose a U.S. withdrawal have shifted gears.  They have intensified their criticism of the Iran deal as deeply flawed and are proposing the president not certify but remain a party to the deal to fix it later.  In addition, they are calling for the JCPOA be sent to Congress for it to impose more sanctions.

Ambassador John Bolton has a far better and more honest option: a clean withdrawal implementing a comprehensive strategy with America’s allies – including Israel – that addresses the full range of threats posed by Iran.

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There’s a pitched rhetorical battle underway right now in Washington as an October 15 deadline approaches for President Trump to certify to Congress that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) is in the national interests of the United States and that Iran is in compliance. Although the president said last week he has made his decision, backers and opponents of the agreement are working overtime to convince him to adopt their recommendations.

President Trump has been highly critical of the JCPOA, calling it “the worst deal ever” during the presidential campaign and “an embarrassment to the United States” during his speech to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19.

However, the president reluctantly certified the nuclear deal to Congress twice this year due to heavy pressure from his top national security advisers, especially Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.  After a heated discussion with his advisers, Mr Trump made the last certification in July but indicated he did not plan to do so again.

A few months ago, Tillerson, McMaster and other advisers were telling President Trump he had no choice but to certify the JCPOA because Iran was in compliance and any violations were “not material.”  Many disagreed, including Senators Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, David Perdue, R-Ga., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who spelled out major instances of Iranian noncompliance and cheating in a July 11, 2017 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

But the main argument Trump advisers made to certify the Iran deal was that if America withdrew it would alienate European leaders.

Now, with the president reportedly determined to “decertify,” Tillerson, McMaster and others who oppose a U.S. withdrawal have shifted gears.  They have intensified their criticism of the Iran deal as deeply flawed and are proposing the president not certify but remain a party to the deal to fix it later.  In addition, they are calling for the JCPOA be sent to Congress for it to impose more sanctions.

This supposed middle-ground option would allow President Trump to give a tough-sounding speech lashing out at the JCPOA and demanding major changes.  But Iran has made it clear that it will never agree to alter the agreement and Congressional Democrats are certain to filibuster any sanctions legislation that would kill the deal.  As a result, the “decertify but remain in the deal” option is actually a clever ploy to ensure the U.S. never withdraws from the nuclear deal.

Ambassador John Bolton has a far better and more honest option: a clean withdrawal implementing a comprehensive strategy with America’s allies – including Israel – that addresses the full range of threats posed by Iran.

Bolton was tasked to write a plan to do this by former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in response to the president’s request last July for a policy option to withdraw from the Iran deal.  Worried that the Bolton plan could sway Mr. Trump, senior Trump officials have blocked Bolton from meeting with the president.  Bolton therefore published his “Iran Deal Exit Strategy” in National Review on August 28.

Bolton’s plan has not received a lot of media coverage because senior Trump officials – especially McMaster – have been aggressively working with the press to promote the “decertify but remain in the deal” option.  However, the Bolton plan received a huge boost last week when 45 national security experts sent a letter to President Trump urging him to withdraw from the JCPOA using Bolton’s strategy.

The letter’s signatories included many leading experts in arms control and nuclear nonproliferation such as former Director of Sandia National Laboratory Paul Robinson, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Robert Joseph; former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith; former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Gen. William Boykin and dozens of other former State and Defense Department officials.

The proposal being advanced by McMaster, Tillerson and others — that President Trump keep the United States in the JCPOA but not certify to Congress that it is in our national security interests — is absurd, especially after the president called the agreement an embarrassment to the United States.  This option will ensure that this dangerous agreement continues as is and will undermine Mr. Trump’s credibility with the American people and the world.

As the 45 experts said in their letter to President Trump, “It is time to move beyond President Obama’s appeasement of Iran and to begin work on a comprehensive new approach that fully addresses the menace that the Iranian regime increasingly poses to American and international security.”  President Trump should do this by implementing a clean withdrawal from the fraudulent Iran nuclear deal using the plan drafted by Ambassador Bolton.

McMaster Says Iran Has Violated Parts of Nuclear Deal: ‘They’re Crossing the Line’

September 18, 2017

McMaster Says Iran Has Violated Parts of Nuclear Deal: ‘They’re Crossing the Line’, Washinton Free Beacon, September 18, 2017

(Please see also, Trump considers ending Iran deal ahead of key deadline.– DM)

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that Iran has already violated parts of the nuclear deal, adding, “They’re crossing the line at times.”

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace noted that President Donald Trump, who lambastes the deal brokered by the Obama administration, has had the opportunity to re-impose sanctions that were lifted as part of the agreement but has not yet done so.

“I know he has to recertify in October whether or not they are complying with it, all this talk about tearing up the agreement, in fact, isn’t he going to live with it and try to find other ways to confront Iran on other fronts?” Wallace asked.

Well, we have to see what live with it means, right?” McMaster said. “Live with can’t be giving this regime cover to develop a nuclear capability. And so, a lot of things have to happen immediately, rigorous enforcement of that agreement. It is under-enforced now. We know Iran has already violated parts of the agreement by—”

“But the IAEA says that they’re complying with it, sir,” Wallace said.

Well, the IAEA has identified and we’ve identified some of these breaches that Iran has then corrected,” McMaster said. “But what does that tell you about Iranian behavior? They’re not just walking up to the line on the agreement. They’re crossing the line at times.”

McMaster said there has to be far more rigorous enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and recognition of its flaws.

“As the president said, it is the worst deal,” McMaster said. “It gave all these benefits to the Iranian regime up front, and these benefits now they’re using to foment this humanitarian catastrophe in the greater Middle East.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that Iran was caught violating the deal by shipping soldiers to Syria on commercial flights. It has also expanded its ballistic missile technology.

Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, lending support to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. It has proxy forces in Iraq and bolsters the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

Trump has reportedly been weighing a strategy to more aggressively respond to Iranian forces and its terror support.

President Barack Obama insisted the deal was the best way to stop Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, although he acknowledged in 2015 that the theocracy’s breakout time could well be zero months when the deal’s provisions expire.