Nikki Haley Lays Out Blistering Case For Tough Stance On Iran Deal

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley strongly defended President Donald Trump’s ability to de-certify Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal to Congress in an address before the American Enterprise Institute Tuesday.

Haley’s speech comes a month before President Donald Trump must certify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal to Congress. Trump has twice reluctantly issued certification, but he flatly declared “I would be surprised if they were in compliance” in a June interview with The Wall Street Journal. The president also said he was willing to overrule the objections of his national security staff.

Haley sought to provide cover for the president. “I do not know what decision he will make” with regards to compliance, but he delivered a forceful case for doing so, she said.

“Regardless of whether one considers Iran’s violations of the [Iran deal] to have been material, and regardless of whether one considers Iran’s flouting of the U.N. resolution on its ballistic missile technology to be ‘non-nuclear,; U.S. law requires the President to also look at whether the Iran deal is appropriate, proportionate, and in our national security interests,” she said.

Haley continued:

We must consider the regime’s repeated, demonstrated hostility toward the United States. We must consider its history of deception about its nuclear program. We must consider its ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. And we must consider the day when the terms of the JCPOA sunset. That’s a day when Iran’s military may very well already have the missile technology to send a nuclear warhead to the United States – a technology that North Korea only recently developed.

The U.N. ambassador also noted that her laundry list of considerations for certification of Iranian compliance characterizes Trump’s thinking as he considers the nuclear arrangement. Haley’s comments echo experts’ concerns that claims of Iranian compliance with the agreement are narrowly focused.

“While Iran might be complying with the letter of the JCPOA [Iran deal] it’s been routinely violating its spirit, and that’s very problematic,” United Against A Nuclear Iran Policy Director Jason Brodsky previously explained to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Brodsky claimed that while Iran’s violations of the U.N. resolution codifying the nuclear deal may not show explicit Iranian procurement or development of nuclear material, it demonstrates a regime that continues to pursue programs that pose a threat to the U.S.

If Trump decides not to certify Iran’s compliance, “it would signal one or more of the following three messages to Congress,” Haley said. “Either the Administration believes Iran is in violation of the deal; or the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior; or the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest.”

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