London, 5 Oct - Donald Trump is set to announce his decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal along with the new US policy on Iran, on Thursday, October 12.
In this speech, he is expected to state that the 2015 nuclear agreement, which provides sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for restrictions on their nuclear programme, is not in the best interests of US national security.
By October 15, Trump will have to tell Congress whether the Iranian Regime is in compliance with the deal and if it aligns with US interests. Considering that Trump has already referred to the deal as one of the "worst and most one-sided transactions" ever, it is unlikely that he would choose to certify Iran’s compliance for a third time this year.
However, many of his top national security aides are in favour of the deal and have previously talked him out of decertification so we must wait and see if they will do so again.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, on October 4: "We're going to give him a couple of options of how to move forward to advance the important policy toward Iran."
He also said that Trump’s decision on the nuclear deal was only a small part of the US’s new policy on Iran, which the US State Department has named the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
According to Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee of the Associated Press, the most likely strategy is that Trump will not certify Iran’s compliance without pulling out of the deal. This would likely bring Iran back to renegotiate.
They wrote: “Diplomats and officials would then strive to manage any fallout with Tehran and U.S. allies by emphasizing that Washington isn't leaving the deal or immediately applying new nuclear sanctions on Iran. After that, Trump wouldn't have to address the certification matter again.”
If economic sanctions were immediately reintroduced, then Iran would likely walk away from the deal and could, as previously threatened, restart their nuclear activity within hours.
These threats do not sound like those that would come from a country who had completely stopped their nuclear activity, but international inspectors have previously marked Iran as “technically compliant”.
Trump, Tillerson, and other hawks in the US Government have previously said that Iran is violating the spirit of the nuclear through their repeated missile launches and support for terrorism. While this may not technically be a violation of the nuclear deal, it is hard to see this as compliant either.
If the issue of Iran’s compliance is not sorted by the October 15 deadline, then Tillerson will have to waive additional sanctions on Iran come January to meet the US’s obligations for the nuclear deal.