WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration again recertified the Iran nuclear deal and pledged to strengthen its enforcement.
The decision to recertify the deal Monday followed delays caused by President Donald Trump, who said during campaigning for the presidency that the agreement reached in 2015 by the Obama administration was the worst he had ever seen. The deal must be recertified every 90 days.
Trump advisers, The New York Times reported, persuaded him to recertify because the Iranians were complying with the deal’s restrictions, which have only to do with Iran’s nuclear program. Trump is unhappy that Iran continues apace in its non-nuclear-related actions opposed by the United States, including missile testing and interventions in other conflicts, particularly in Yemen and Syria.
In a conference call with reporters on Monday evening, administration officials said they would toughen enforcement of the deal. A similar pledge was made at the last recertification three months ago; what tougher enforcement means precisely is not clear.
The deal trades sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s capability to manufacture a nuclear weapon. The advisers pressing for recertification, according to the Times, included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. U.S. allies could sour on the Trump administration if it is perceived as responsible for the collapse of the deal.
Trump, like Obama before him, has continued to sanction Iran for its ballistic missile development and its backing of terrorism, as well as its interventions in conflicts in the region.