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While Verifying Iran Deal Compliance, Tillerson Outlines How Trump Could Scrap the Agreement

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The Trump administration could still annul the Iran nuclear deal despite certifying Tehran’s compliance with the agreement, observers warned.

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said Wednesday that President Trump could effectively rip up the accord, by violating its terms on sanctions. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed late Tuesday that Iran is currently abiding by the terms of the multilateral deal–one that involves all five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“With this certification, President Trump must now uphold the United States’ obligations and renew the sanctions waivers,” said Trita Parsi, NIAC president. “If not, Trump will place the US in violation of its commitments and be responsible for unilaterally killing the nuclear deal.”

Although the agreement is narrow in scope, pertaining only to the nature of Iran’s nuclear program, Tillerson said that other matters could lead to the jettisoning of sanctions waivers.

“Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods,” he said, in a regular letter to Congress. The Secretary of State is required to update lawmakers on Iranian compliance every 90 days.

Tillerson also noted that an interagency review “will evaluate whether [the] suspension of sanctions….is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

“When the interagency review is completed, the administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue,” Tillerson added.

Many lawmakers from both parties are eager to stretch the terms of the deal—to the extent that the deal could collapse as a result, according to NIAC. Last month, Republicans and Democrats introduced legislation to give President Trump additional authorities to impose sanctions on the Iranian government.

“Without knowing how the President will exercise these new sanctions authorities, it is unclear what implications such provisions may have for US adherence to its commitments,” NIAC said.

While campaigning, Trump repeatedly described the nuclear deal with Iran as a “disaster.” But Tillerson’s certification on Tuesday night doesn’t come as a great surprise. Earlier this month, a high ranking military official confirmed that the agreement was working, and that Iran was abiding by its terms.

“While Iran continues to follow the mandates of the [deal], we must remain vigilant to any Iranian intentions that indicate it will pursue nuclear weapons,” Gen. John Hyten said.

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Since 2010, Sam Knight's work has appeared in Truthout, Washington Monthly, Salon, Mondoweiss, Alternet, In These Times, The Reykjavik Grapevine and The Nation. In 2012, he worked as a producer for The Alyona Show on RT. He has written extensively about political movements that emerged in Iceland after the 2008 financial collapse, and is currently working on a book about the subject.

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