US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley: Trump Will Move Beyond 2015 Nuclear Deal if Iran Fails Compliance Test
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said during an address in Washington, DC on Tuesday that President Donald Trump was not guaranteed to certify Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — when his administration is next obliged to report to Congress on the matter in October.
“If the president finds that he cannot in good faith certify Iranian compliance, he would initiate a process whereby we move beyond narrow technicalities, and look at the big picture,” Haley said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think tank.
“At issue is our national security interest,” Haley said. “It’s past time we had an Iran nuclear policy that acknowledged that.”
Haley argued that the JCPOA had produced a situation where stakeholders were prepared to ignore Iranian violations if that meant preserving the deal.
“For advocates of the deal, everything in our relationship with the Iranian regime must now be subordinated to the preservation of the agreement,” she observed.
Haley said the JCPOA was designed to be “too big to fail.”
“The deal drew an artificial line between the Iranian regime’s nuclear development and the rest of its lawless behavior,” she said. “It said, ‘We’ve made this deal on the nuclear side, so none of the regime’s other bad behavior is important enough to threaten the nuclear agreement.'”
Trump, who derided the nuclear deal as the “worst ever made” on the campaign trail in 2016, has been rumored for several weeks to be unhappy with certifying Iranian compliance. Independently of the JCPOA, the White House has made clear to Iran that provocative acts, such as the testing of ballistic missiles, will produce further sanctions. In July, shortly after Trump last certified Iranian compliance, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it was designating 16 entities and individuals for activities supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Meanwhile, in June, the Senate passed tough new sanctions against both Russia and Iran, highlighting Iran’s determination to develop its ballistic missile program.
In an op-ed published by The Algemeiner on Monday, Haley confronted Iran in a different realm: its backing of the Lebanese Shia terrorist organization Hezbollah.
“As the proxy for the outlaw Iranian regime, Hezbollah will not give up its terrorist goals,” Haley wrote. “But just as Hezbollah is stepping up its efforts, the United States, and now the United Nations, is stepping up our efforts against them.”