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Trump’s One Step At A Time Iran Policy Fails

President Trump’s announcement that he would no longer certify that Obama’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran was in the national security interest of the United States was welcome news, but it did not in our view go nearly far enough because the President stopped short of withdrawing the United States from the disastrous non-treaty Obamabomb treaty.

What’s more, President Trump punted a substantial portion of executive authority on the matter to Congress by asking a feckless Congress to pass legislation to strengthen enforcement and sanctions under the Iran Nuclear Trump IranAgreement Review Act, rather than using his own well-recognized executive power to accomplish that goal.

All that said, the President’s announcement of a new Iran policy did include some important and much needed changes from the Obama-era policies that have been running on autopilot since Inauguration Day.

One of the most important things the President said in announcing his new policy and his refusal to continue to falsely certify that Iran was complying with the Obamabomb deal was that “…in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.”

That President Trump recognizes he has this authority, and threatens to use it in the future, was a useful marker to lay down not only for the Iranians, but for the “stay in the deal” faction in Congress as well.

Another useful point made by the President was the recognition that there is a tie between the Obama nuclear deal with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. President Trump’s statement, “we are determined that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons,” was an important commitment to defend western civilization from the Iranian Islamist threat.

Perhaps the best and most important element of President Trump’s new Iran strategy was the recognition that all of Iran’s malign activities should be viewed as a whole, not as individual items to be assessed or negotiated separately.

The Obama Administration’s myopic focus on Iran’s nuclear program to the exclusion of the regime’s many other malign activities allowed Iran’s influence in the Middle East to reach a high-water mark.

President Trump recognized that the United States has neglected Iran’s steady expansion of proxy forces and terrorist networks aimed at keeping its neighbors weak and unstable in hopes of dominating the greater Middle East. And that the Iranian regime has recently accelerated the seeding of these networks with increasingly destructive weapons as they try to establish a bridge from Iran to Lebanon and Syria.

The Trump Administration’s Iran policy, said the President, will address the totality of these threats from and malign activities by the Government of Iran and will seek to bring about a change in the Iranian regime’s behavior.

These remarks and policy announcements were a welcome change from the Obama polices that through benign neglect and the Iran nuclear weapons deal actively advanced Iran as the regional hegemon.

However, all the good elements of the President’s new policy do not counterbalance the fact that the new policy hinges on the cooperation of two feckless partners; the United States Congress and our allies, mostly in Europe.

Traitorous Senator Bob Corker, the author of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was quick to condemn Trump’s new policy and to engage in a very public and personal level war of words with the President.

We assess the likelihood of Corker holding hearings and passing a new Iran sanctions bill as someplace between none and zero.

As for our traditional allies, POLITICO reported that the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Friday that the United States had no right to unilaterally terminate the Iran nuclear accord. She called the agreement “effective” and said there had been “no violations of any of the commitments” in the deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement reaffirming their support for the accord, which they described as “in our shared national security interest.”

This even though less than a month ago French President Emmanuel Macron said the Iran nuclear deal was not enough given that Tehran had increased its influence in the region and pressed ahead with ballistic missile tests, and even offered to mediate between the United States and Iran.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, “Then they [the Iranians] might revert to developing nuclear weapons,” Mr. Gabriel said according to the UK Independent, adding Israel would not tolerate that and “then we will be back where we were 10, 12 years ago with the danger of war relatively close to Europe.”

EU Foreign Minister Mogherini further compounded the hypocrisy by saying, “The International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, has verified eight times that Iran is implementing all of its nuclear-related commitments, following a comprehensive and strict monitoring system… There have been no violations of any of the commitments included in the agreement.”

This statement is directly contradicted by the head of the IAEA, which we reported in our article,  Even UN Says Iran Not Complying With Obama Nuclear Weapons Deal, clearly indicating that the EU and our traditional allies on the continent are unlikely to help.

The reality is there is no evidence that Iran ever abandoned or froze its nuclear weapons program; it merely took the billions Obama offered and moved the nuclear weapons program underground to military sites it declared off-limits to inspection.

President Trump’s step-by-step approach to trying to repair the follies of Obama’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran looks good on paper. However, it fails because it relies upon two feckless partners: the US Congress and our European allies.

Rather than the incremental approach he has laid out, the President would have been much better off to simply pull the Band-Aid off in one stroke and make himself free to pursue the tough actions necessary to prevent Iran from joining North Korea as a nuclear ballistic missile-armed rogue state.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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