World is waiting for Trump’s decision

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Roji Kurd: President Trump will take a leap into the diplomatic unknown Friday if — as expected — he strikes a blow at the 2015 deal that the Obama administration and other global powers reached with Iran to curb its nuclear activities.

 Trump has long condemned the nuclear deal as an “embarrassment” to the United States because Tehran has continued with aggressive and meddlesome activities in the Middle East, despite the lifting of sanctions and the return of tens of billions of dollars frozen abroad after the agreement was reached.

A decision by Mr. Trump to “decertify” the multinational accord under U.S. law — effectively declaring that Iranian behavior means the accord is no longer in the U.S. national interests — will throw the issue into the lap of Congress, which could do nothing or could unilaterally reimpose wide-ranging economic sanctions on Iran that analysts say would effectively scuttle the deal.

Iran and key U.S. allies, who still support the accord, have sent conflicting signals on how they will respond. Interested bystanders — most notably North Korea — are watching closely to see how successful the Trump administration will be in trying to wring fresh concessions from Iran.

The President has fumed against what he has called a “very bad deal” and an “embarrassment” to the country despite all available evidence that Iran is complying with terms which imposed limits on its nuclear program in return for a lifting of sanctions that had crippled its economy.
“I think it was one of the most incompetently drawn deals I’ve ever seen,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
Trump’s move, which had been previewed to CNN by government sources and foreign diplomats, will give Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted under the terms of the agreement.

The president has argued that Tehran has also badly undermined the spirit of the deal by carrying out several ballistic missile tests over the past two years, in violation of a standing U.N. Security Council resolution that bans such tests.

A significant stiffened US policy toward Iran designed to tackle what the White House says are Tehran’s destabilizing activities and support for terrorism could return the enemies to the cycle of confrontation and proxy wars of most of the last four decades, that could in itself cause the deal to slowly begin to unravel.
“If the President chooses to not certify, that already will be a negative step — for one thing it will start a process of isolating us from our allies,” Ernest Moniz, Obama’s former energy secretary who helped negotiate the agreement, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“If we went all the way and reimposed sanctions while Iran is in compliance … this would be a slippery slope towards a bad outcome, something very much not in our national security interest,” Moniz said.

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