Brody: Trump Wants Out of Iran Deal, but Timing Isn't Right

Jul 19, 2017, 00:16

The US has imposed new sanctions on companies and individuals that it says provide material support to Iran's military, as well as on organizations involved in the country's ballistic missile program.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks at the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report ceremony at the State Department in Washington, D.C. On Monday, Tillerson certified to Congress that Iran is complying with its nuclear pact, but the Trump administration wants to interpret the deal more strictly.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a statement on July 18 that it was targeting 16 entities and individuals for "engaging in support of illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity".

It said the activities "undercut whatever "positive contributions" to regional and global peace and security were meant to emerge" from the nuclear agreement. He chose not to elaborate on the issue until the State Department's full statement regarding the Iran deal.

Officials also said the USA would speed up Tehran with new sanctions that paralyze the development of ballistic missiles and other activities.

Among those sanctioned were key backers of Iran's military and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The U.S. has been at loggerheads with Iran for supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and creating unrest in Yemen and elsewhere in the region.

Monday, the Trump administration agreed to keep the deal in place, saying Iran is following the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which curbed their program in exchange for sanctions relief.

During the campaign, President Trump told the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC): "My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran".

The State Department on Monday notified Congress, as it was required to do, that it was recertifying Iran's compliance with the global agreement.

As a presidential candidate, Trump was voracious in his denunciation of the deal.

Bloomberg points out that other administration officials, including Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo and chief strategist Steve Bannon, are vehemently opposed to the Iran deal.

Other signatories to the nuclear deal - Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and the European Union - have indicated they believe it is working. The sanctions freeze any assets in the USA and prevent Americans from doing business with them. "And that narrow approach led us to overlook some of the broader, malign behaviors that the Iranian regime conducted, particularly in its region", the official said.

In an hourlong meeting last week, for example, Trump spent 55 minutes telling some of his highest-ranking security advisers that he wanted to abandon the Iran deal. Instead, senior Trump administration officials sought to emphasize their deep concerns about Iran's non-nuclear misbehavior and vowed that those transgressions won't go unpunished.

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