After all the statements President Trump made during the presidential campaign ripping Barack Obama for the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism, it appears that Trump and his administration accept former president Barack Obama’s assessment that Iran has abided by the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.
According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was implemented in January 2016, but the administration is reviewing the nuclear deal. Some international sanctions were lifted on Iran after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran was in compliance with terms to scale back its nuclear program. Billions of dollars of Iran's assets were unfrozen as sanctions were lifted, although U.S. sanctions were not included.
After the deal was implemented, Barack Obama decided to lift sanctions, commenting that Iran had reduced its uranium stockpile by 98% and removed two-thirds of its centrifuges.
The sanctions reduced crude oil exports from Iran, but Reuters has reported last month that oil exports from Iran to India have surged.
Certification of Iran's compliance must be sent to Congress every 90 days; Tillerson’s letter was the first certification sent by the Trump administration. The deadline for the certification was Tuesday at midnight.
Tillerson wrote Congress that the Iranians had met the terms of the 2015 deal. He added, "President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran … is vital to the national security interests of the United States. It remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods."
Despite Obama and the Trump’s administration claims that Iran has abided by the terms of the nuclear deal, there is skepticism among experts as to Iran’s true actions. As defensenews.com reports, Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted the following infractions, based on the IAEA’s own report from December 2015 and some respected scholarly journals:
In the face of an IAEA warning, Iran deliberately exceeded heavy water limits of 130 metric tons in November 2016; in the summer of 2016, senior Iranian officials began threatening to resume “large-scale uranium enrichment” if leaders felt the international community was not meeting its sanctions relief obligations; and the Iranian regime lied about its extensive nuclear weapons program until 2003 and certain activities continued until 2009. Former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen warned that without a complete understanding “of the extent and scope of Tehran’s nuclear-weapons work, effective verification will be compromised.”
Emily Landau, Ephraim Asculai and Shimon Stein of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) pointed out in January 2017 that Iran is operating advanced centrifuges “in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the JCPOA.” They noted that scholars and experts cannot independently verify conclusions published by the IAEA with regard to Iranian compliance. They posited that IAEA’s public reports contain incomplete information and “undermine the transparency principle that has long existed and been hailed by” the countries that negotiated the nuclear deal. They noted that missile and nuclear components are not monitored by the IAEA.