by Jay Lorenz
Citing national security, President Trump announced that he will not certify the Iranian nuclear deal on Friday. Per the deal, Trump has to certify every 90 days that Iran is compliant with the agreement and that it remains in U.S. national security interests, something he has done twice. This does not immediately end the deal, but puts pressure on Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions. The decision is part of a larger strategic review of American policy toward Iran, which Trump said is a proud nation with a rich history, but is ruled by a “fanatical regime.”
In his speech on Friday, Trump called out Iran for its activities in the Middle East, which Trump labeled as terrorist actions. Trump blasted Iran as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” citing its involvement with Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others. Trump also criticized Iran for its support of Bashar al-Assad, due to the supposed crimes of his regime, including the use of chemical weapons against “many, many children.” Trump also insisted that Iran violated the agreement, saying Iran broke the agreement’s rules on heavy water, operation of advanced centrifuges, and allowing inspectors to complete their job.
The administration’s new Iran strategy, Trump said, includes working more with U.S. allies in the region to thwart Iranian proxies, additional economic sanctions, and a commitment to denying “all paths to a nuclear weapon.” Trump also called on allies and Congress to negotiate a new Iran deal which puts sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missile production, and gets rid of sunset clauses that lift key aspects of the deal after certain periods of time. If they cannot reach a new deal, the current deal will be terminated by Trump.
Though Trump claims that the decision is primarily based on U.S. national interests, this action is about Israel first and foremost. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bragged about this fact Sunday on Face the Nation:
“Remember I stood in the U.N. a few years ago and I drew that red line? That’s before the deal. They didn’t cross it because they knew what the stakes are. And Iran today knows that if they do what you just said, they’re going to get crippling sanctions on their head. The U.S. alone can do that. The U.S., you know, it’s a very powerful economy.”
Notice that Netanyahu threatens that if Iran crosses Israel’s red line, the United States will cripple Iran, an admission that the American government essentially works for Israel. Trump says his administration’s goal is to make sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon. For decades, American policy has been to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons everywhere in the world. Trump, to much criticism, has actually relaxed this policy, suggesting that Japan might need to develop its own nuclear weapons to defend itself from North Korea. Iran, however, is not able to get nukes to defend itself from Saudi Arabia or Israel. For all of Trump’s bluster about the insanity of the Iranian regime, few could seriously believe that Iran would launch an offensive nuclear attack, an action which would see the country swiftly destroyed by a U.S.-led coalition. Israel wants to remain the most powerful military and the lone nuclear power in the Middle East. Iran is the greatest threat to Israeli hegemony, and that is the reason Trump is acting so harshly toward Tehran. In his speech, Trump said, “The regime’s two favorite chants are ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel.’ ” But we all know which nation comes first in America’s foreign policy.