He said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States". Trump has blasted JCPOA as "the worst deal ever negotiated" and threatened to renegotiate or rip up the agreement. Looking ahead, we see three key takeaways.
First, it is ostensibly standard practice for new administrations to review existing policies during their first few months in office.
In July a year ago, Trump told CNN that the Iranians "are laughing at the stupidity of the deal we're making on nuclear". Every aspect of the deal has repeatedly gone through a rigorous interagency review conducted by those same career government officials before, during, and after its approval.
At Wednesday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump may believe that Iran is cheating on the deal.
Iran also "maintains a long-standing hostility towards Israel, providing weapons, training and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations", said the secretary of state, citing reports that Iran displayed a missile inscribed "death to Israel" during a military parade on Tuesday. In some respects, certification of Iran's compliance was preordained.More news: US VP Pence warns North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'
Asked at a news briefing if Trump had chose to pull out of the 2015 deal, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the 90-day inter-agency review, announced on Tuesday, would make recommendations on the path forward.
Iran has said many times that if the USA imposed additional sanctions, that would violate the nuclear deal and Iran would no longer feel bound by its terms.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2nd L), Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) wait with others ahead of a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 26, 2015. The immediate concern is the ways in which the financial relief provided by the deal's rollback of sanctions is being used by Iran to destabilize the region. Indeed, if the administration intends on successfully undermining the JCPOA, its most likely approach is to take action that aggravates Iran, nullifies Iran's economic benefit, and causes Iran's defection from the nuclear accord.
He said the US also is evaluating whether to redesignate Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Trump administration will regard these sanctions as consistent with the JCPOA, insofar as they will be imposed for reasons separate and apart from Iran's nuclear program, and will thus seek to nullify the benefit to Iran of its nuclear bargain.
Another Western diplomat called the administration comments "a politically acceptable way of sending the certification to Congress" that Iran is holding to the deal, describing it as "certification dressed up in rhetoric" of criticism toward Tehran. Thus, following through on promises to tear up the accord or renegotiate it make no sense from the perspective of American national interests or global security. The U.S. has been exploring ways to address the threat of North Korea's nuclear program, which is significantly farther along than Iran's.