The art of the nuclear deal

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US President Donald Trump

Even more than the actual deal, Mr Trump detests the certification requirement, which forces him to sign off every three months on an accord he has called the worst deal ever negotiated by the USA, according to the officials.

Officials familiar with the internal deliberations as well as informed sources outside the administration say they expect Mr Trump to tell lawmakers that the Iran deal is not in the USA national security interest despite Iran's technical compliance.

Mr Trump has until Sunday to notify Congress whether Iran remains in compliance with the accord under which it limited its atomic programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Serious concern has been growing on the possible USA administration's withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Iran "is not in material breach of the agreement".

Western sanctions that were frozen as part of the JCPOA do not automatically snap back into place as a result of Trump's expected decertification decision. The middle ground that these options supposedly represent is an illusion - their sole objective is to ensure that President Trump never withdraws from an agreement he has correctly called an embarrassment to the United States.

Why does U.S. President Donald Trump want to scrap it?

While the Trump administration has twice certified Iranian compliance with the deal in notifications to the US Congress under an American law, the White House has indicated that a third verification - due later this week - would not be offered. Those provisions relate to enriching uranium to levels near those needed to produce the fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as other activities that limit Iran's atomic capabilities at various sites.

"The effect of what the president has done has really been to constrain our freedom of action", said Rep. Adam Schiff, Calif., the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, "because steps we might have taken to constrain Iran's malevolent activity will now be viewed through the prism of the president's hostility to the nuclear deal".


"There is no technical nor political space to renegotiate this deal", Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told PBS Wednesday.

Officials have also said there could be room to open a new negotiation for what happens once some of the core terms of the deal begin expiring in 2025, although there is no reason to believe Iran would be ready to enter in such a negotiation.

"Once that we have an agreement that is functioning, that is working, that is delivering, the worst thing you can do is trying to dismantle it, also because you would show the way to others that making deals actually is not worth it, because the message that America would send to the rest of the world is that America cannot be trusted upon", she said. But it is a requirement of USA law. Some of them may buckle and refuse to continue economic ties with Iran, while some may seek the refuge of regulations that the European Union used to shield entities from U.S.'s secondary sanctions.

Trump will use an executive order to declare Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organisation.

The Europeans seem more inclined to try to "build" on the deal in this way.

Former Obama administration officials who played central roles in brokering the Iran nuclear agreement briefed congressional Democrats later Wednesday on the merits of the worldwide accord.

European officials expressed relief that the White House speech did not appear to represent an USA abrogation of the 2015 deal, which they had intensively lobbied against since it became clear over recent months that Trump did not want to continue to certify the deal to Congress.

What exactly that will look like is still being determined, but it could include greater congressional oversight.

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