UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lays out case for United States leaving Iran deal

Sep 07, 2017, 01:58
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lays out case for United States leaving Iran deal

But in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Haley laid out exactly what "compliance" should look like, in the context of the USA law that requires the president to make a determination every 90 days.

"Should he decide to decertify, he has grounds to stand on", said Haley, adding that she did not know what Trump would decide.

In April, Trump ordered a review of whether a suspension of sanctions on Iran related to the nuclear deal, negotiated under former president, Barack Obama, was in the USA national security interest.

She was referring to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which Congress passed after the Obama Administration and the other P5+1 countries agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.

"We will stay in a deal as long as it protects the security of the United States", she said. What we get is a cementing closed (even literally, in the case of the disabling of a reactor that otherwise could have produced plutonium) of all possible pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Haley also suggested that Iran could be deemed as non-compliant based on its ballistic missile development which is excluded from the deal but is still illegal under other United Nations resolutions.

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The US envoy to the United Nations says President Donald Trump's possible refusal to certify Iran's compliance with its nuclear deal does not constitute US withdrawal from the agreement. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

"Everyone hoped the deal would make the Iranian government good people", Haley said, "but no one looked at the history of Iran, no one looked at all the past aggressions they have shown". She will draw a distinction between the provisions of the "flawed" deal and the requirements of the US law compelling the president to determine "whether the Iran deal is appropriate, proportionate, and in our national security interests".

First, Corker-Cardin gives Congress the mechanism to decide to reapply sanctions, but it is the president who must set foreign policy and outline its position. Instead, she said the decision to leave the accord would be tossed to Congress, leaving room for lawmakers to keep in place US sanctions relief.

In an op-ed published by The Algemeiner on Monday, Haley confronted Iran in a different realm: its backing of the Lebanese Shia terrorist organization Hezbollah.

"What I want the United States to understand (is) we need to wake up", Haley said at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

The big problem with Haley's formulation is that Iran is a party to only one of those three "pillars", the JCPOA.

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In those circumstances, she said, "Congress then has 60 days to consider whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran". "It's very easy to just talk about compliance and the JCPOA", she said.

Instead, Iran's history, its hostility toward the U.S. and its behavior in the Middle East have to figure into Trump's calculus when he decides in October whether to certify if Iran is abiding by the deal, she said.

"At issue is our national security interest", Haley said.

"Another major flaw in the JCPOA is its penalty provisions", she said.

Illicit nuclear material is allegedly continuing to be stockpiled in North Korea on behalf of Iran (so that Iran does not default on the 2015 nuclear deal).

As with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, punting the Iran issue to Congress seems like a way for the Trump Administration to have its cake and eat it too, by declaring Iran non-compliant but not taking responsibility if the deal subsequently falls apart.

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