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By Saagar Enjeti
President Donald Trump expects to find the Islamic Republic of Iran non-compliant with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal in September, he told The Wall Street Journal in a Tuesday interview.
“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump declared.
Trump reluctantly certified Iran’s technical compliance with nuclear deal July 18 but scolded his national security team to come up with better options to counter the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile and terrorism sponsorship in the Middle East.
Trump is required to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the deal every 90 days to the U.S. Congress under the terms of the deal. The president does not appear willing to buckle to pressure from his senior national security staff in the next review period, telling, WSJ he is willing to overrule the recommendations of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson if he must.
“I have a lot of respect for Rex and his people, good relationship. It’s easier to say they comply. It’s a lot easier. But it’s the wrong thing. They don’t comply. And so we’ll see what happens. I mean, we’ll talk about this subject in 90 days. But, yeah, I would be – I would be surprised if they were in compliance,” he declared.
Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly implored Trump not to find Iran non-compliant in the latest report to congress by emphasizing the need to coordinate any U.S. action across the range of actors involved in the Iran deal, which is also signed by the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany.
Proponents of staying within the deal reportedly told Trump that withdrawing from the deal would essentially allow the regime to keep all of the sanctions relief money it got in 2015-2016 while not having to comply with nuclear site inspections.