"We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more chaos, the very real threat of Iran's nuclear breakout," President Trump said during his much-anticipated Friday speech, in which he made good on his promise to decertify the nuclear pact forged between Iran and world powers in 2015. While this does not mean the end of U.S. commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA as the accord is formally known, it will entrust Congress with the responsibility to decide the next step.
Proponents of the JCPOA, architects of the deal, members of the former U.S. administration, and states engaged in business contracts with the regime criticized Trump's decision. They accused him of being swayed by political and personal impulses and endangering a deal solely aimed at blocking Iran's path to a nuclear bomb.
However, even without considering the host of other threats that Iran poses to regional and global security, there are clear signs the JCPOA isn't working.
Case in point is a newly published investigative report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which unveils the locations of several military sites that are suspected to be used for bomb-building purposes.
Moreover, U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukia Amano recently admitted the agency is limited in its capacity to ensure Iran's adherence to the accord's Section T, which bans "activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device."
Elsewhere, according to three reports by German intelligence, Iran has made dozens of attempts to procure illicit technology that could be used for military nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Iran has also clearly taken advantage of the incentives provided by the deal to pursue its other evil agendas. "Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the regime's dangerous aggression has only escalated," Trump said in his speech, referring to Iran's increased intervention in neighboring countries. "At the same time, it has received massive sanctions relief while continuing to develop its missiles program. Iran has also entered into lucrative business contracts with other parties to the agreement."
While decertification doesn't scrap the nuclear deal altogether, it has provided an opportunity to revisit its many flaws and to address Iran's other destabilizing activities.
Trump also declared his decision to impose tough sanctions on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard, which he described as "the Iranian supreme leader's corrupt personal terror force and militia."
Following Trump's speech, the U.S. Treasury Department placed the IRGC on its antiterrorism sanctions list "for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban."
The sanctions will strike at the heart of Iran's nuclear and missile program, its regional aggressions and the suppression of social and political protests, all of which are run by the Guard.
Finally, Trump made a clear distinction between the Iranian regime and its people. "We stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regimes longest suffering victims: its own people," he said. "The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to, and they just are longing, to reclaim their country's proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors."
This was perhaps the most important part of Trump's speech.
"A firm policy is long overdue," Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said following Trump's remarks. "However, the ultimate solution is the overthrow of the regime and establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran by the Iranian people and resistance. For years, a policy of appeasement has acted as the main impediment to change in Iran. It is time that the international community recognizes the aspirations of the Iranian people and stands with the people of Iran and their legitimate right for regime change."
Rajavi also called for tougher measures against Iran's intervention in the Middle East, a ban on nuclear enrichment, unconditional inspections on Iran's military and nonmilitary sites, and the referral of Iran's human rights dossier to the U.N. Security Council.
Amir Basiri (@amir_bas) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is an Iranian human rights activist.
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