By Jason Devaney | NEWSMAX
President Donald Trump said Friday he is not recertifying the Iran nuclear deal, which sets off a 60-day process for Congress to debate the issue.
Trump made the announcement during a White House speech Friday afternoon.
“As I have said many times, the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said.
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“Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakthrough. That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so the regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”
The Iran nuclear deal, which was negotiated and signed during the Obama administration, has been the subject of much debate. Critics of the agreement say it does not go far enough to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
The deal must be recertified every 90 days by the sitting U.S. president. Not doing so is not the same as withdrawing from the agreement, however. The action Trump took Friday gives Congress the power to come up with new terms.
“My fellow Americans, as president of the United States my highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of the American people. For this reason, I have ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran. That review is now complete,” Trump said Friday before announcing his administration’s new stance on Iran and the nuclear agreement.
The president listed several occasions in which Iran has attacked Americans over the years and has taken part in and funded terrorism.
“The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” Trump said.
“The regime’s two favorite chants are “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
Trump said the nuclear deal gave Iran “a political and economic lifeline,” alluding to the $1.7 billion that the U.S. gave to Iran as part of the agreement.
“Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians, waiting at the airport for the cash. I wonder where all that money went.”
Trump said America’s new Iran policy includes placing sanctions on Iran to combat its terrorism activities and doing whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The president tried to lay out a strong case to support his decision not to recertify the nuclear deal, referencing both the flaws he sees in the agreement and also Iran’s violations of it since it was made official in January 2016.
“The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement,” Trump said. “For example, on two separate occasions they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water. Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges.
“The Iranian regime has also intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.”
Trump added that if Congress is unable to come up with language and terms that, in his view, improve the agreement, he will take action to withdraw the U.S. from it.
“In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time.”
The White House’s new Iran policy also plays hardball with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), placing tough sanctions on the group Trump said has participated in and funded terrorism over the years.
“The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian supreme leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia,” Trump said. “It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad.”
Trump’s examples of the IRGC’s activities included sending missiles and other weapons to Syria and planning and launching terror attacks overseas and in the U.S.
“I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates,” he said.
The IRGC has tousled with American warships in the Persian Gulf on several occasions in recent years, taunting the ships to the point that U.S. personnel fired warning flares to ward off the fast-approaching boats.
The IRGC also took 10 U.S. sailors hostage in a January 2016 incident that Iran claimed took place after two U.S. Naval boats strayed into Iranian waters. The sailors were released 15 hours later.