For those keeping score since the implementation of the Iran Deal, Iran has tested illegal ballistic missiles, attempted to procure technologies and components with nuclear applications, and, according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has amassed more than 130 metric tons of heavy water, a material used in the production of weapons-grade plutonium, breaching a limit set by the deal.
The Iran Deal made under the Obama administration is best described in two words — defective and fraudulent. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was an agreement reached back in July 2015 where Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions.
Under U.S. law, every 90 days the State Department must notify Congress of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. The next deadline is October, and Trump has said he thinks by then the United States will declare Iran to be non-compliant.
From the onset, Trump has called the Iran Deal of his predecessor the “worst deal ever,” but this has not stopped him from certifying Iran’s compliance twice since taking office. However, in true Trump fashion, he has expressed to high ranking officials his desire to abandon the deal altogether.
Back in April, President Trump ordered a review of whether a suspension of nuclear sanctions on Iran was in the U.S. interest. Fast forward four months and it seems Ambassador John Bolton has stepped up to provide Trump with the ability to exit stage left from the Iran Deal.
Bolton’s plan is outlined in a four-step campaign beginning with consultations with key players such as the “UK, France, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, to tell them we are going to abrogate the deal based on outright violations and other unacceptable Iranian behavior, and seek their input.”
After notifying the aforementioned countries, Bolton suggests following up with a detailed white paper as well as a diplomatic campaign against the deal in both Europe and the Middle East in order to sway lawmakers and build public support.
While Bolton’s five page plan offers a bird’s eye view in terms of strategic plan, the former United Nations Ambassador explains, “it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, hundred-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement.”
For those who have been on Team No Deal from the onset, Bolton’s plan is a welcome solution. From the onset, the deal was found unfavorable by Americans 2 to 1 and has been a threat to national security interests.
However, for proponents of the Iran Deal, such as lawmakers and former Obama administration officials, staying the course is currently the best way to keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear activities and stop its nuclear program.
Even though Bolton’s plan is solution-oriented and a step in the right direction, the $400 million question is, will Trump heed Bolton’s plan and rip up the Iran Deal once and for all? According to my Magic 8ball the outlook is hazy.