Donald ‘I alone can fix it’ Trump tells Congress to fix the Iran deal

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International observers agree that Iran has complied with the 2015 deal to freeze its nuclear weapons program, so Donald Trump’s aides strained to find a way for him to complain about the deal they still believe serves our national interests. The New York Times writes:

That solution was to declare that Iran was violating the “spirit” of the accord and that the entire agreement was no longer in the United States’ national security interests — even while acknowledging that Tehran had lived up to the letter of the agreement.

That gave Trump the opportunity to talk tough about Iran on Friday, calling it a “fanatical” and “murderous” regime with a “sinister vision for the future” while still punting responsibility for fixing the deal to Congress. That sure must have felt satisfying to self-declared “deal maker” who told America, “I alone can fix it.”  

In

speech that mixed searing criticism of Iran with more measured action, Mr. Trump declared his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. Doing so essentially kicks to Congress a decision about whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which would blow up the agreement. […]

Mr. Trump said he would ask Congress to establish “trigger points,” which could prompt the United States to reimpose sanctions on Iran if it crosses thresholds set by Congress. […]

Those could include continued ballistic missile launches by Iran, a refusal to extend the duration of constraints on its nuclear fuel production, or a conclusion by the United States’ intelligence agencies that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis both believe staying in the deal is in the best interests of the country. Their workaround for Trump feels like a delay of the inevitable, since asking the GOP-led Congress to accomplish anything that requires political dexterity is a road to nowhere. Stay tuned.

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