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Nikki Haley Says Trump Has Grounds to Leave Iran Deal

Nikki Haley Says Trump Has Grounds to Leave Iran Deal”

"I'm not making the case for decertifying (the agreement)", she told her rapt AEI audience.

Haley is not advocating he decertify Iran's compliance, she said, but her one-hour presentation clearly laid out grounds for defending such an action.

After all, President Obama went to the Security Council to adopt the Iran deal formally, and purportedly bind the United States in global law, before he took the deal to Congress.

"If the president finds that he can not certify Iranian compliance, it would signal one or more of the following messages to Congress: 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 behaviour, or the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest", Haley said. Naturally, it came not from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Tehran recently dismissed murmurings from the U.S. about possible nuclear inspections, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani saying that such investigations are not necessary under the terms of the accord. Haley's assertion disregards how, given Iran's experience in the war launched against it by Iraq, and its situation in facing neighbors today with superior air forces, it is unrealistic that Iran ever would accept curbs on its development and possession of missiles without similar restrictions on others in the region.

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Haley outlined possible scenarios for leaving the deal, including one that involves essentially deferring a decision to Congress, which under USA law oversees Iranian compliance with the deal. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

Under US law, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Haley said the JCPOA was created to be "too big to fail". "We should welcome a debate over whether JCPOA is in USA national security interests..."

First, Corker-Cardin gives Congress the mechanism to decide to reapply sanctions, but it is the president who must set foreign policy and outline its position.

When limits on Iran's uranium enrichment or centrifuge production expire, Iran may be able to send a nuclear warhead to the United States, as North Korea can now, Haley said.

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"The entire world thinks the JCPOA is untouchable, but it's not", Haley said at the American Enterprise Institue, using the formal acronym for the nuclear pact. Haley has warmed to this cause both because of her own previous parochial interests, including those associated with financial contributions she has received, and because it is a convenient vehicle for playing to Trump's urges.

"For advocates of the deal, everything in our relationship with the Iranian regime must now be subordinated to the preservation of the agreement", she observed. She said it did not resolve a long list of other United States grievances about Iran's behavior, from its support for the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah to its ballistic missile program. Does Congress want to reapply sanctions, and if so, how prepared is it to deal with the consequences? And she noted that Iran has in the past hidden its most sensitive nuclear activities in military sites that are now hard to reach for United Nations inspectors. Haley all but declared in her speech that the Iranians were guilty if they weren't rushing to open up the additional sites, and the IAEA was weak for not demanding it.

"Withdrawal from the agreement is governed by the terms of the JCPOA", Haley will say.

Trump's decertification "would signal one or more of the following three messages to Congress", Haley said.

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