A new report suggests that President Donald Trump’s national security advisor H.R. McMaster is rushing to save the deeply flawed nuclear Iran deal, which was seen as a hallmark of former President Obama’s legacy, ahead of Friday’s deadline for recertification.
“According to multiple sources, H.R. McMaster is reprising the role he played last fall: removing a legislative irritant from Trump so that the president can quietly remain in the deal,” wrote the Daily Beast.
President Trump has promised he would terminate the Iran nuclear deal.
On Friday, President Trump must decide whether he will waive — or extend — sanctions relief for key parts of the Iranian regime, such as Iran’s Central Bank, or allow them to be snapped back into place, which would put the United States in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran’s Central Bank funds Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which was designated as a terrorist entity by the U.S. Department of Treasury in October.
Another lingering question is whether President Trump will decide to stay in the deal.
The Iran deal is largely seen as more of a treaty than law.
On Wednesday, the Washington Free Beacon wrote that Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “is working with Senate Democrats on new legislation to hold Iran accountable for its ongoing ballistic missile construction and other rogue activities” and noted, “[t]hat bill, sources said, is failing to gain traction among Republicans due to what many described as a range of flaws that mainly serve to lock in the Iranian nuclear deal and prevent Trump from abandoning it.”
The Free Beacon further noted, “The latest efforts involve a legislative push that would preserve the nuclear deal not only in the short term, but limit the ability of Trump and future presidents to ever exit the deal.”
John Bolton said during a panel discussion on Iran on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, “The sooner the president abrogates it entirely and creates a new international reality, the better.”
According to a speculative report from the Associated Press, “Trump is likely to pair his decision to renew the concessions to Tehran with new, targeted sanctions on Iranian businesses and people, the six people briefed on the matter said.”
Iran’s Central Bank is believed to be engaged in financing terror. Under former President Barack Obama, as part of the United State’s signing off on the nuclear deal, Iran’s Central Bank and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s multi-billion dollar empire were granted sanctions relief.
It is possible for the Trump administration to snap sanctions back onto these entities for Iran’s human rights violations; a topic that was not addressed as part of the 2015 nuclear Iran deal’s passage.
The Daily Beast noted that should President Trump embrace the emerging McMaster-Corker-Cardin accord, it would likely pit him against his fellow Iran hawks.