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Above: US President Donald Trump. Photo: UNI

President Donald Trump is likely to decertify the Iran nuclear deal next week in a speech that is expected to be hard and caustic. This will trigger a debate in the Congress on the issue and could reopen the landmark agreement.

According to media reports, Trump is expected to take the stand that the deal does not favour US national security concerns. He may posit that Tehran must face additional sanctions, which will prevent it from restarting its nuclear programme afresh any time in the future.

White House needs to certify its stand to the Congress by October 15, as mandated by a US law. The law was passed in 2015 when the Obama administration and five other major powers were arriving at a deal with Iran. According to the deal, Tehran was supposed to either destroy or disable its nuclear infrastructure so that international sanctions imposed on it could be eased.

The UN Security Council has lent its support to the accord and the International Atomic Energy Agency has time and again reiterated that Tehran has not violated the deal. Even the US intelligence agencies have concluded the same.

Diplomatic relations between US and Iran came to a halt after hundreds of Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages in 1979.

Trump has always slammed the Iran deal as one-sided and showed his inclination to scrap it. He had asked for an inter-agency review of US’ Iran policy after becoming the president. The anti-deal club firmly believes that restrictions should be firmly imposed on Tehran’s support for militant groups in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, its ballistic missile programme and other destabilizing actions.

However, the 2015 deal was only concerned about blocking Iran’s ability to someday build a nuclear bomb, and did not concentrate on other activities.

According to media reports, an effort has been made by the US National Security Advisor to make the Democratic lawmakers agree to support Trump on the issue. But the task looks onerous as many Democrats may not toe the Trump line even though they may have been against the deal. A consensus seems to elude even amongst Trump’s top aide, according to sources.

The European allies who were part of the process as far as brokering the Iran deal is concerned, have taken a clear stand—they will not be with Trump in re-imposing sanctions or hammering out a fresh disarmament deal.

—India Legal Bureau

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