Varying sources have confirmed that President Trump will decertify the Iran nuclear deal come an Oct. 15 deadline. This will mean that the president does not see the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known, as vital to the national security interests of the U.S. It will then be up to Congress to decide whether to scrap the deal and reimpose sanctions on the Iranian regime or to preserve it and take other necessary measures to address its flaws.
The question now is what this move means for Iranian regime, and how its leaders will react? Iranian officials have threatened to walk away from the deal and the enrichment of uranium on several reprises in the past months as Trump intensified the tough talk against the accord's failures and Tehran's unlawful ventures.
But in the past week, those threats are starting to sound more and more hollow as Iran's foreign minister and other top officials have reiterated Tehran's adherence to the accord and tried to win the favor of European countries in the standoff against the U.S. The truth is that the Iranian regime doesn't want to give up the benefits it has reaped from the inherent flaws of the nuclear deal, including the legitimization of its uranium enrichment program, the overlooking of its ballistic missile development and a porous inspections program that fails to verify all aspects of its nuclear activities.
Previously, the signatories of the deal had given Iran's rulers tacit approval, and a lot of cash, to do as they will as long as they remained in material compliance of the nuclear deal. Fearing that Iran would walk away from the deal, the Obama administration and the European countries involved in the deal were loath to revisit any of its flaws or to address Iran's other nefarious deeds, including its terrorist intervention in Middle Eastern countries and its gross human rights violations at home.
In many ways, the deal had become too big to fail, and preserving it had become more important than the goal it was supposed to achieve, which was to block Iran's path to a nuclear bomb and to help promote peace and stability.
The results of this failed approach have so far been 3,000 executions in Iran during the first tenure of President Hassan Rouhani (who is touted by Western politicians as a moderate) and a spike in sectarian violence in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, where Iran has been supplying its proxies with troops, weapons, and money.
Regardless of what Congress will do, Trump's deviation from his predecessor's path has broken the taboo of the deal and can set the stage for correcting past mistakes and preventing Iran from holding the world hostage with the nuclear deal. That is what Iran's rulers fear most.
The nuclear deal should be recognized for what it is: a deal that limits, but does not block, Iran's path to nuclear weapons. Its shortcomings need to be fixed in order to make sure that Iran does not obtain nuclear bombs in the short or long run.
Likewise, the Iranian regime should be recognized for what it is: a rogue regime that poses a multitude of threats to international peace and security, all of which have to be addressed. Nuclear weapon development is only one of them.
As one senior administration official told CNN, "If the administration could put the nuclear deal in a corner, everyone could happily get back to work on dealing with everything else that is a problem with Iran."
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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