Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Sticking with Iran Deal Is in Our Best Interests

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Sticking with Iran Deal Is in Our Best Interests

Article excerpt

As President Donald Trump contemplates what to do with the 2015 multiparty agreement that halted Iran's nuclear weapons development, let's hope he listens carefully to his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, who told a Senate committee Oct. 2 that sticking with the accord is in the United States' best interests.

Confirmation that Iran is abiding by the agreement has come not just from Mattis, but the U.S. State Department and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the actual monitoring agency. Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia--the other signatories to the accord--are satisfied that Iran is in compliance and they are pressing the White House to stay in.

Under a U.S. law, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which is not part of the international agreement, the president must certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is abiding by the deal, or Congress can reimpose economic sanctions against Iran. Twice already Trump has made that certification, but as the next deadline, Oct. 15, approaches, he is showing great reluctance.

Regrettably, the president's reluctance has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with campaign promises. As a candidate he promised to scrap the deal with Iran, which he described (ignoring all evidence to the contrary) as "the worst deal ever." Having been thwarted in keeping other campaign promises--no border wall is being built and the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land--Trump must be feeling very frustrated. Unlike those other promises that require him to negotiate and come to agreement with members of Congress, decertifying the Iran deal is something he can do unilaterally.

In the end, though, decertifying the agreement and sending it back to Congress is a cynical political ploy that allows him to claim victory but shifts the real work of governing to Congress. …

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