October 11, 2017

If Trump Won’t Certify the Nuke Deal, He Should Do This Instead

By Ilan Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg

Despite assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the secretary of state that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, along with a public acknowledgement from the secretary of defense that it is in the U.S. national interest to stay in the agreement, President Donald Trump is expected to give a policy speech on October 12 in which he will likely announce that he will not certify to Congress that Iran is abiding by its commitments. Though the administration is not likely to encourage Congress to reimpose all nuclear sanctions, the president’s refusal to certify will jeopardize an agreement that has successfully contained Iran’s nuclear ambitions. However, even if the president pursues this track, which we oppose, there is a way for the administration, Congress, and our European allies to jointly address the agreement’s shortcomings while sustaining its gains.

Some critics of the deal have proposed that the president withold certification, and Congress or the administration reimpose some sanctions, including measures to sabotage the multibillion-dollar civil aviation agreements with Boeing and Airbus that the deal explicitly permits. Then, leveraging the fear among U.S. allies that the United States will utterly abandon the agreement and hammer more foreign companies with sanctions, the United States should force Europe to agree to jointly present Iran with an ultimatum and new conditions Iran would have to meet to keep more sanctions from being reimposed.

Read the full op-ed in Foreign Policy.