Trump May Be Laying The Groundwork To De-Certify Iran Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during ceremonies in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the 16th anniversary of the attack at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts – UP1ED9B13ALNJ

Daily Caller, by Saagar Enjeti, Sept. 12, 2017:

The Trump administration appears to be gearing up for a more aggressive stance towards the Islamic Republic of Iran, which may begin with U.S. de-certification of the regime’s compliance with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a proposal developed by his senior national advisors to confront Iranian-backed militias in war-zones like Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. The proposal would have the U.S. intercept Iranian arms shipments to malign terror groups and allow U.S. ships to act more “forcefully” when harassed by the Islamic Republic in the Persian gulf.

The proposal was characterized as a “broad strategy” and echoes concerns Trump has floated in the past in connection with the nuclear deal. The president himself said in July he “would be surprised” if he certified Iran’s compliance to Congress in the coming months saying “I think they’re taking advantage of this country.”

The proposal’s leak to Reuters also comes just days after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley laid out a comprehensive way forward on Sept. 5 for the administration if it decides to de-certify the regime’s compliance.

Haley forcefully declared:

We must consider the regime’s repeated, demonstrated hostility toward the United States. We must consider its history of deception about its nuclear program. We must consider its ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. And we must consider the day when the terms of the JCPOA sunset. That’s a day when Iran’s military may very well already have the missile technology to send a nuclear warhead to the United States – a technology that North Korea only recently developed.

The administration has long held the view that Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal must be viewed in a broader lens that accounts for its malign activity in the Middle East and aggressive ballistic missile program. The administration’s stance echoes experts’ concerns that claims of Iranian compliance with the agreement are narrowly focused.

“While Iran might be complying with the letter of the JCPOA [Iran deal] it’s been routinely violating its spirit, and that’s very problematic,” United Against A Nuclear Iran Policy Director Jason Brodsky previously explained to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Brodsky claimed that while Iran’s violations of the U.N. resolution codifying the nuclear deal may not show explicit Iranian procurement or development of nuclear material, it demonstrates a regime that continues to pursue programs that pose a threat to the U.S.

If Trump decides not to certify Iran’s compliance, “it would signal one or more of the following three messages to Congress,” Haley said. “Either the Administration believes Iran is in violation of the deal; or the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior; or the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest.”

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Haley: Iran Has Uninspected & Undeclared Nuclear Sites

Iran: Inspection of mass production of ballistic missiles (Photo: VAHID REZA ALAEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Sept. 10, 2017:

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley claimed in August that Iran has “numerous undeclared [nuclear] sites that have not been inspected,” the first time the U.S. government has officially accused Iran of actively hiding parts of its nuclear program since the deal was enacted.

That is a big accusation, but it received very little attention. Peculiarly, the claim did not appear in her later remarks on September 5 to the American Enterprise Institute.

Iranian Opposition Group Reports Secret Nuke Work

The National Council of Resistance in Iran, a group that wants to replace the current regime with a secular democracy, publicly released detailed information about Iran’s alleged covert nuclear activities in April.

NCRI says that the newly-identified site is inside the Parchin military base, the place that Iran has been most resistant to granting outside access. It is known that Iran worked on the high explosives necessary for a nuclear weapon’s “trigger” at Parchin.

NCRI says that the effort was simply moved from one location within Parchin to another because the regime believes there is an “extremely low” chance of the IAEA inspectors entering the area.

The opposition group obviously has a political agenda, but it has a strong track record and it would want to avoid a self-inflicted wound by being caught in a lie.

A nuclear expert with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Frank Pabian, said in 2010 that NCRI is “right about 90 percent of the time.” In 2002, NCRI accurately revealed two secret nuclear sites; the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and the heavy water facility at Arak.

The NCRI’s claim about activity in Parchin is substantiated by satellite imagery that discovered suspicious activity at Parchin in July 2015. Scientists assessed that “these activities could be related to refurbishment or clean-up prior to any IAEA inspection or the taking of environmental samples.”

Earlier in February 2015, NCRI identified an alleged secret uranium enrichment site that has been operating since 2008. The revelation happened as the U.S. and Iran came close to agreeing to the nuclear deal.

Iran Refuses Access to Military Sites

The U.S. government is publicly stating that the inspectors should have broad access to Iranian military sites suspected of housing nuclear activity. The inspectors have not visited a single one since the JCPOA went into effect.

However, the IAEA may only request access if it believes it has adequate evidence of nuclear work at a specific site. Under the deal, which has the official name of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the IAEA does not have the authority to inspect sites on a whim. And if it does request a visit, Iran can delay for up to 24 days or even longer without facing consequences.

As of now, the U.S. is not reported to have provided such intelligence to the IAEA or to have requested a specific inspection.

A quote from an anonymous IAEA official indicates that agency personnel want to prevent the Trump Administration from finding a pretext for abandoning the deal. An unidentified official said, “If they want to bring down the deal, they will. We just don’t want to give them an excuse to.”

By raising the issue of access to military sites, the U.S. has pushed Iran to unequivocally state that it will deny access to military sites altogether.

The Institute for Science and International Security’s analysis of the latest IAEA report is highly critical of the agency’s last report for omitting crucial details. The institute is considered one of the most reputable organizations on nuclear issues in the world.

It says that access to military sites is essential for verification, and that “it is likely that some of the conditions in Section T [of the JCPOA] are not currently being met and may in fact be violated by Iran.” Section T addresses dual-use equipment that can be used for pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran’s refusal to grant access to any military sites means that Iran is violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Additional Protocol, an act that does not violate the JCPOA per se but does make Iran fall short of the standards set by Congress for continuing the deal.

The significance of Iran’s refusal to grant access to military sites can only be understood when the complicated arrangement is grasped.

Two Agreements: The JCPOA & Corker-Cardin

The continuation of the nuclear deal (the JCPOA) requires Iranian compliance with two sets of the standards:

The first is obviously the JCPOA itself.

The second is the Nuclear Agreement Review Act, also known as the Corker-Cardin bill which was passed under the Obama Administration so that Congress would could approve or reject U.S. participation in the deal. Iran must meet standards beyond the deal for congressional approval to continue.

The Corker-Cardin bill requires the administration to certify that Iran is meeting the following four benchmarks:

  • Iran is fully implementing the agreement,
  • Iran has not committed a material breach of the agreement,
  • Iran has not taken any action that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program, and
  • Suspension of sanctions against Iran is appropriate and proportionate to measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program and vital to U.S. national security interests.

Importantly, the Corker-Cardin bill also requires Iranian compliance with agreements “related” to the nuclear deal. That would include the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Additional Protocol, which is referenced seven times in the JCPOA’s section on nuclear-related measures. Iran’s blanket refusal to grant access to military sites is a statement that it will not comply with the Additional Protocol.

“With Iran rejecting IAEA access to military sites, President Trump would now be lying to Congress and the American people if he recertifies Iranian compliance in October,” said Omri Ceren, the Israel Project’s senior adviser monitoring the deal, to the Clarion Project.

U.N. Ambassador Haley also said the U.S. has “devastating evidence of Iranian violations” of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which arguably qualifies as a JCPOA-related agreement. It prohibits ballistic missile testing and arming of terrorists that Iran is clearly engaged in.

Let’s review again where we are at for those who understandably find this confusing.

  • If the U.S. has sufficient evidence that Iran is conducting nuclear work at undisclosed sites, then Iran is in violation of the JCPOA itself.
  • The U.S. must then present this evidence to the IAEA, which—if convinced—will request an inspection that, according to Iran’s public statements, the regime will reject.
  • If access is denied past 24 days, the U.N. might declare Iran in violation of the JCPOA and then might reimpose sanctions, effectively ending the deal.
  • What is more likely to happen is that the Trump Administration will declare that Iran is not meeting the standards of the Corker-Cardin arrangement—the standards that must be met for Congress to authorize continued U.S. participation in the deal.

The Trump Administration has twice certified that Iran is meeting these standards, as is required every 90 days. Haley’s comments indicate that certification is unlikely in October.

The Trump Administration can declare Iran in violation of “related agreements” and/or state that the suspension of sanctions on Iran is no longer believed to be in America’s national security interests (the fourth benchmark).

So, does that mean the nuclear deal with Iran is probably over in October? Not necessarily.

The Next Step

As Haley explains, if President Trump does not certify that these benchmarks are being met, then Congress has a 60-day period to decide whether to re-impose sanctions that were lifted under the deal.

“Congress could debate whether the nuclear deal is in fact too big to fail. We should welcome a debate over whether the JCPOA is in the U.S. national security interest,” Haley said.

On the surface, it seems that killing the deal would be a no-brainer.

Haley pointed out that, because of the sanctions imposed on Iran prior to the deal, the Iranian GDP fell by over 4 percent. Two years after the deal, it grew by almost 5 percent. The deal is likely saving the Iranian regime and its ideology of Shiite Islamic Revolution as Western businesses flock to set up contracts.

Over the long-term, the agreement disarms the West more than it disarms the Iranian regime, resulting in an Iran on steroids. Its nuclear infrastructure remains, enabling the regime to quickly produce an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

In fact, last February, four top experts declared Iran a “nuclear missile state.”

The Iranian regime can match its words of “Death to America” with action by launching an apocalyptic Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) strike, an option advocated in its military manuals and one that its military has been rehearsing since at least 2008.

But, as Haley understands:

“The truth is, the Iran deal has so many flaws that it’s tempting to leave it. But the deal was constructed in a way that makes leaving it less attractive. It gave Iran what it wanted up-front, in exchange for temporary promises to deliver what we want. That’s not good.”

The deal has left us in a difficult position.

Even if the deal is scrapped, Iran has already greatly benefited from the influx of income. The lucrative international business contracts made in the wake of the agreement make it questionable whether the international community will partake in future sanctions, especially if the U.S. is seen as the party responsible for the deal’s collapse.

Iran may move quickly ahead in developing a nuclear arsenal while the U.S. is still heavily engaged in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Proponents of the deal will point out that at least it restricts what Iran does with its declared facilities. Yet, provoking Western action as a pretext for overtly making nukes may have been a part of Iran’s script all along.

If the deal isn’t scrapped, then the Iranian regime gets stronger by the day.

The regime is already increasing spending on ballistic missiles, the Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Qods Force responsible for supporting terrorists and extremist militias, drone development and expandingits military footprint in the region. Meetings with North Korean officials appear to be on the uptick, as are links with terrorist groups like the Taliban, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In addition , the regime continues to maintain its relationship with Al-Qaeda.

Whether President Trump certifies Iranian compliance or not—and whether Congress scraps the deal or not—we are headed for an increasingly bumpy road ahead.

Are Mattis & McMaster embracing Obama’s do-nothing Iran strategy?

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Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Sept. 12, 2017:

National security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis are known advocates for the nuclear deal with the terror state of Iran. But many also assumed that they at least sought a departure from the Obama-era strategy of allowing Iran to pursue its regional and global ambitions with full force.

McMaster purged the Iran hawks from his National Security Council. However, this effort was mostly written off as the national security adviser wanting to bring in his own people, rather than a clash of ideologies.

Mattis has publicly stated that Iran is the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” leading analysts to infer that as Pentagon chief, he would attempt to quash Iranian efforts to take over half of the Middle East.

Since the election of Donald Trump as president, Iran has doubled down on its anti-U.S. posture.

Iran continues to assert dominance over Iraq. Its own fighters and proxy units have infiltrated much of Syria. Tehran resumed its aggressive funding and arming of Hezbollah and Hamas. In the Gulf, its warships continue to recklessly confront U.S. vessels. And Iran-backed fighters and armed drones are targeting U.S. soldiers on the battlefield.

So what are our respected cabinet officials doing about the increasing Iranian threat? Apparently, they’ve decided to ignore it.

An insightful report from Reuters Monday night specifically names Mattis and McMaster as the cabinet officials who oppose taking a tough stance against Iran’s regional ambitions.

“Mattis and McMaster, as well as the heads of the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Forces Command, have opposed allowing U.S. commanders in Syria and Iraq to react more forcefully to provocations by the IRGC, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite militias,” the Reuters report said. “The advisers are concerned that more permissive rules of engagement would divert U.S. forces from defeating the remnants of Islamic State, they said.”

The Reuters report, however, leaves open the possibility that President Trump may overrule the restrictions recommended by Mattis and McMaster and allow our commanders in the field to target Iran’s proxies and its support for jihadi militias.

By singling out ISIS and ignoring the rest of America’s national security threats, Mattis and McMaster have apparently endorsed the Obama administration’s “balancing act” strategy that gives Tehran unchecked dominance over the land from its borders to the Mediterranean Sea.

Allowing Iran to conquer and hold territory and encroach further to the west puts our allies in Israel and in the Levant and the Gulf on high alert. By only focusing on ISIS, the U.S.-led coalition has shifted the balance of power in Iran’s favor. The “only ISIS” strategy has allowed Iran to station troops right across from Israel’s territory in the Golan Heights.

Defeating ISIS is a noble and worthy endeavor, but doing so without a grand strategy that holds Iran in check is hazardous and detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Iran is hell-bent on not only dominating the region, but also acquiring a nuclear weapon. By opposing action against Iran-backed forces, Mattis and McMaster are tying the hands of our commanders in the field, which was a primary complaint leveled against President Obama’s military strategy, one that President Trump campaigned on reversing.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal

National Review, by John Bolton, Aug. 28, 2017:

Although candidate Donald Trump repeatedly criticized Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement, his administration has twice decided to remain in the deal. It so certified to Congress, most recently in July, as required by law. Before the second certification, Trump asked repeatedly for alternatives to acquiescing yet again in a policy he clearly abhorred. But no such options were forthcoming, despite “a sharp series of exchanges” between the president and his advisers, as the New York Times and similar press reports characterized it.

Many outside the administration wondered how this was possible: Was Trump in control, or were his advisers? Defining a compelling rationale to exit Obama’s failed nuclear deal and elaborating a game plan to do so are quite easy. In fact, Steve Bannon asked me in late July to draw up just such a game plan for the president — the option he didn’t have — which I did.

Here it is. It is only five pages long, but like instant coffee, it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, hundred-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement. There is no need to wait for the next certification deadline in October. Trump can and should free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity.

I offer the Iran nonpaper now as a public service, since staff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible. Although he was once kind enough to tell me “come in and see me any time,” those days are now over.

If the president is never to see this option, so be it. But let it never be said that the option didn’t exist.

Read more

— John R. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Trusting Iran Makes It Our Next NKorea

Then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, right, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the impacts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on U.S. Interests and the Military Balance in the Mideast. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Newsmax, by Peter Pry, Aug. 24, 2017:

Democracies have a blind faith that treaties can disarm totalitarian regimes. The notion that “peace in our time” is possible through a scrap of paper is an irrational addiction in Washington, D.C., the opioid of the U.S. State Department.

The free world is free because it has laws and contracts, and an ideological imperative to believe in the efficacy of negotiation and compromise. The totalitarian world is not free because its laws and contracts are lies, merely a propagandistic means to the end of tyranny, where the ideological imperative is to enslave.

Never the twain shall meet. But the free world never learns war cannot be outlawed by the Kellogg-Briand Pact of Aug. 27, 1928 or, just as absurdly, a world without nuclear weapons achieved by negotiating with North Korea an Agreed Framework (1994) or with Iran a Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA, 2015).

Perhaps the best warning against JCPOA is the long, failed history of arms control.

True believers in JCPOA should read two books, Barton Whaley’s “Covert German Rearmament 1919-1939: Deception and Misperception” and John Jordan’s “Warships After Washington.” Both books describe cheating by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan on the Versailles Treaty of June 28, 1919, the Washington Naval Treaty of  Feb. 6, 1922, the London Naval Treaty of April 22, 1930, and the Second London Naval Treaty of March 25, 1936.

Also read “The President’s Unclassified Report to the Congress on Soviet Noncompliance with Arms Control Agreements” (Released Feb. 1, 1985) wherein is described the USSR’s cheating on the major arms control agreements of the Cold War. The State Department is still sitting on the even more shocking classified version.

Now, Clare Lopez, a former CIA clandestine services officer who is vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy (CSP), one of the best Washington, D.C. think tanks, has written the definitive study titled “Why Trump Must Not Re-Certify Iranian JCPOA Compliance.” (Center for Security Policy, Aug. 23, 2017).

Lopez has deep expertise in the ideology of radical Islam that drives the Islamic Republic of Iran and their Islamic Revolutionary Guard to be the world’s leading sponsors of international terrorism — and why development of an Islamic Bomb is an ideological religious imperative for Iran.

The mullahs who run Iran, and the fanatical Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who run Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, will never betray Allah by surrendering their Islamic bomb — the most powerful weapon for material and spiritual victory in their global jihad.

Failure by the U.S. State Department to understand the ideological motives behind Iran’s nuclear missile program is repeating State’s catastrophic misunderstanding that the ideological imperatives of totalitarianism made inevitable North Korea’s cheating on former-President Bill Clinton’s Agreed Framework.

Totalitarian Iran and North Korea, despite profound ideological differences, are strategic partners in a nuclear missile “axis of evil” because the free world is even more abhorrent to Tehran and Pyongyang than each other.

Key Findings from Clare Lopez’s “Why Trump Must Not Re-Certify Iranian JCPOA Compliance”:

—”It is imperative that President Trump not recertify the Iranian regime as compliant with the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when the next deadline comes due in October 2017;”

— “Tehran is explicitly and demonstrably out of compliance with the JCPOA on numerous specific counts'”

— “The nature of the Iranian regime is self-avowedly jihadist per its own constitution, which   declares the objective of the regime is global conquest by an Islamic State under rule of Islamic Law (shariah) – thus, its nuclear weapons program is a means to achieve that objective;”

— “The Iranian regime is signatory to a host of international conventions and treaties but has a documented record of violations that lends little credence to its JCPOA pledges;”

— “The Iranian regime most notably violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for at least 14 years before getting caught and publicly revealed with a clandestine nuclear weapons program in 2002.”

— “The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) documented a long list of so-called Possible Military Dimensions (PMDs) related to the Iranian nuclear program in November 2011 that strongly suggest its assessment that Iran had an advanced nuclear weapons program and possibly nuclear warheads at that time;”

— “More recent revelations demonstrate that the Iranian regime continues to work on nuclear warheads and explosive charges to initiate the implosion sequence of a nuclear bomb at clandestine sites off-limits to IAEA inspections;”

— “Even after the July 2015 JCPOA, the Iranian regime has been confronted with credible information that it is operating more advanced centrifuges than permitted, exceeding limits on production of heavy water, and covertly procuring nuclear and missile technology outside of JCPOA-approved channels: these are all material breaches of the JCPOA;”

— “The Iranian regime’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile ‘Joint Venture’ with North Korea dates back at least to the 1990s and continues currently with especial concern about the sharing of expertise on warhead miniaturization and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) technology;”

— “Denial of recertification of Iranian compliance with the JCPOA must be the first step in a complete review of the nuclear and ballistic missile threats from both Iran and North Korea.”

Mr. President, don’t let Iran become another North Korea. Tear-up the JCPOA!

Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served in the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of “Blackout Wars.” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

Why Trump Must Not Re-Certify The Obamabomb Deal

Center for Security Policy, by Clare Lopez, Aug. 23, 2017:

(Washington, D.C.): The Center for Security Policy today published an extraordinarily topical and timely Occasional Paper concerning one of the nation’s most pressing national security questions: Can the United States in good faith certify that Iran is complying with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when the next deadline is reached in October 2017 and, if so, should it?

This analysis, entitled “Why President Trump Must Not Re-certify Iranian JCPOA Compliance,” was written by the Center’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez. It lays out the factual basis for concluding that Mr. Trump neither can nor should provide such a certification since Tehran is explicitly and demonstrably in material breach of the JCPOA on multiple specific counts.

This conclusion is particularly compelling given the unrelentingly jihadist nature of the Iranian regime, which codified in its 1989 constitution the Islamic Republic’s explicit dedication to global Islamic conquest. In addition, the mullah-led government in Tehran’s faithfully follows that totalitarian doctrine’s dictates to deceive non-Muslims – a reality evident in Iran’s long record of violations of the provisions of other international accords and treaties to which it is a signatory. Notably, Iran was caught in 2002 for having violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when its clandestine nuclear weapons program was revealed to the world for the first time.

Since then, many more revelations about the Iranian nuclear weapons program have come to light. For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency itself has documented a long list of Possible Military Dimensions to the Iranian nuclear program that seems to confirm the validity of its assessment that Iran had an advanced nuclear weapons program – and possibly even nuclear warheads – by November 2011. Additionally, what amounts to a joint venture between Iran and North Korea with respect to nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development prompts grave concerns with regard to the sharing expertise on warhead miniaturization and Electromagnetic Pulse technology.

In releasing Ms. Lopez’s paper, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney observed:

Clare Lopez is a veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service with deep knowledge of the lengths to which the Iranian regime has gone to pursue its nuclear ambitions – and mislead the United States and others about the actual status of its weapons, missile and centrifuge development programs. Her insights into this behavior make clear that those programs are not just deeply problematic from a national security perspective. They amount to showstoppers with regard to any further presidential certifications, especially with respect to the JCPOA being consistent with the national security interests of the United States.

Click here to view the paper in PDF format

H. R. McMaster Adjusts His Arguments to Keep the U.S. in Iran Nuclear Deal

National Review, by Fred Fleitz, Aug. 8, 2017:

Three weeks ago, on July 17, I posted in The Corner concerning a startling statement by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster during a phone conference on the Trump administration’s decision to certify to Congress, for the second time this year, that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA) and that this agreement is in the interests of the United States. Click here and here to read why this certification decision was a serious mistake.

McMaster conceded the JCPOA is a bad agreement that has not improved Iranian behavior but argued that the Trump administration planned to certify Iran’s compliance because it had not violated the accord. I wrote last month that McMaster said in response to a question during the July 17 phone conference that Iran was in default of the spirit of the agreement and “we need to take a closer look at whether it is violating the letter of the deal.” McMaster also said Iran has been “walking up to violating the letter” of the JCPOA.

This statement was baffling not only because many experts and four leading Republican senators believe there is clear evidence that Iran has violated the deal, but also because of the absurdity of claiming six months into the Trump administration that the president’s team has not yet determined whether Iran violated the agreement.

During an August 5 MSNBC interview with Hugh Hewitt, McMaster adjusted his arguments on Iranian compliance with the JCPOA when he told Hewitt that Iran has violated the spirit of the JCPOA and, when it occasionally violated the letter of the agreement, the U.S. went to the IAEA to get it to take remedial measures.

This contradicts what McMaster said during the July 17 phone conference. This argument also is false since it ignores Iran’s refusal to allow the IAEA to inspect military sites and German intelligence reports of Iranian cheating. Moreover, as I explained in a September 2, 2016, NRO article, the IAEA has been faulted for being less than a straight shooter when it comes to monitoring Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.

McMaster probably adjusted his arguments because he is trying to find a way to keep the United States in the JCPOA despite strong evidence of Iranian cheating and a growing belief by Americans that this agreement is not in their country’s national security interests. I also believe the general thinks the president is unlikely to agree to a third certification of the JCPOA to Congress in October and is looking for ways to prevent this by papering over Iran’s violations and the dangers of this pact.

It is my sincere hope that President Trump will dismiss the many misleading arguments being made in defense of the JCPOA by its supporters and repudiate this disastrous agreement as soon as possible.