Iran deal's foes in US Congress may be its unlikely saviors

President Trump reportedly wants to return the U.S. to the level of nuclear weapons stockpiled in the 1960s

While the president is required to certify the deal every 90 days, that certification is not part of the deal.

A decision by Trump to decertify the deal would leave it at grave risk, with the US Congress having 60 days to decide whether to re-impose specific sanctions on Tehran that were lifted because of the diplomatic pact.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at Donald Trump Wednesday charging that us opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal has only united all Iranians and brought sympathy toward Tehran from Europe.

In his planned address, Trump is expected to declare that the deal is not in America's national interest.

Two other USA officials, who also requested anonymity, said Trump's bellicose rhetoric on a number of fronts is troubling both many of his own aides and some of America's closest allies, a few of whom have asked US officials privately if Trump's real objective is attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.

No, the deal will not be invalidated if the administration decertifies it. Iran has said it may exit the deal if the US withdraws.

After Trump made clear three months ago he would not certify Iran's compliance with the deal, his advisers moved to give him options to consider, a senior administration official said. The middle ground that these options supposedly represent is an illusion - their sole objective is to ensure that President Trump never withdraws from an agreement he has correctly called an embarrassment to the United States. With the threat of restoring those old sanctions and imposing new ones - as well as the threat of military force - the US hopes to have new leverage and get Iran to accept changes to the deal. Trump has twice certified the deal since he took office in January.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi cautioned against leaving the Iranian nuclear agreement, which was one of the top foreign policy achievement of the former president Barack Obama. "Once it was entered into, once it was implemented, we want to see it enforced".

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Deutch said the danger of walking away from the agreement is that those expiration dates "would have effectively dropped from a decade to a day" because Iran would be freed of its obligations under the deal.

"What Trump is doing is opening a very unnecessary "Pandora's box" of troubles at a time when he is unable to competently handle the crisis with North Korea's nuclear program", said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, which supports the Iran deal.

The certification would also demand that the intelligence community produce judgments on a wide range of Iranian behaviour that is not covered by the nuclear deal, including ballistic missile testing and development, support for Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and Syrian President Bashar Assad and threats to Israel and the Mideast more broadly, according to the drafts.

What happens if Trump decertifies the deal?

Yet Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported Wednesday that the country's foreign minister said Tehran "will never" renegotiate the deal. If those sanctions are put back into place, the JCPOA would be considered breached. Those provisions relate to enriching uranium to levels near those needed to produce the fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as other activities that limit Iran's atomic capabilities at various sites. But again, none of that is likely since the USA would be essentially tearing up the agreement and taking the blame for whatever comes next.

Who says they are not holding up their end of the deal?

What exactly that will look like is still being determined, but it could include greater congressional oversight.

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