Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer praised President Donald Trump's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, saying now that the deal is with Congress it will have 60 days to re-access many of the deals "sunset" provisions that put Israel and the rest of the world at risk.
On Friday, Trump "decertified" the deal, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stating that the Iranian regime had not only violated the 2015 international nuclear accord but also accused Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp of supporting terrorism around the world saying, "it has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad." He added that the U.S. was imposing new terrorism-related sanctions on the IRGC and its affiliates.
Trump's strong stance against Iran's support of aiding terrorist proxies and stopping Iran's path to what opponents suggest would be an armed nuclear Iran was a signal to the rest of the world that the United States would no longer be pushed into bad deals, said Dermer, who spoke to Circa outside the Department of State Monday.
Trump's decision showed "leadership" because for months many people within the administration, some in the White House and the European Union tried to persuade him to continue to certify the Iran deal, the ambassador said. Israel wasn't the only nation praising Trump's decision to back out of the Iran deal but King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia made a call to the White House where he "praised President Trump for his visionary new Iran strategy and pledged to support American leadership," noted a statement released Saturday from the White House regarding a telephone call between the two leaders.
The Iran deal put us on Cruise Control, heading over a cliff.
"The Iran deal put us on Cruise Control, heading over a cliff," Dermer said. "It's Israel, It's Saudi Arabia, it's the Emirates, and when Israel and the Arab states are on the same page that should tell you something...We were the guinea pigs in this experiment, and it's not working. So when your allies in the region are telling you how bad this deal is, how bad Iran's behavior is and they are applauding President Trump for taking a stand."
Dermer told Circa that Congress should take a careful look at the clauses and the “sunset provisions" buried in the Iran deal. The sunset provisions is an area most in contention by opponents, who state that when the restrictions imposed on Iran expire, the regime can continue its path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an outspoken critic of the deal, said during the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19, “in a few years, [nuclear] restrictions will be automatically removed...not by a change in Iran’s behavior, not by a lessening of its terror or its aggression—they’ll just be removed by a mere change in the calendar.”
"I hope Congress will seize the opportunity that President Trump gave them to fix what is a very bad deal," said Dermer. "And hopefully, turn a bad deal, with Iran, into a good policy, visa vi Iran and that's going to require Congress to make some of the changes, you know, the president himself can terminate this deal. He doesn't need Congress for that but actually to fix a lot of the problems, he does need Congress."
Another major issue Israeli and U.S. opponents of the deal stressed was Iran's ballistic missile program and in August, the AP reported that Iran's Parliament while chanting "Death to America" voted unanimously "to increase spending on its ballistic missile program and foreign operations" related to its IRGC. But by early October with the Iran deal hanging in the wind, the Iranian regime signaled to the six world powers its desire to talk about its ballistic missile arsenal, as first reported by Reuters.
There are two parts to President Trump's policy - first, fix the problems of the deal, but also start pushing back on Iran's aggression and terrorism in the region and around the world.
"There are two parts to President Trump's policy - first, fix the problems of the deal, but also start pushing back on Iran's aggression and terrorism in the region and around the world," said Dermer. "That's why it is a comprehensive policy and we are fully supportive of it."
On Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who is a big proponent of the deal, suggested Trump's decision had more to do with him playing to his base than the actual deal itself, saying in a statement to reporters "the EU is committed to the continued full and effective implementation of all parts" of the agreement, the European ministers said in a statement. They noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency has certified eight times that Iran was living up to its commitments. The deal has also been certified twice in the United States since Trump took office."
Dermer noted that the administration is going to work with members of the Senate to change the existing legislation and he added "I think there is also an effort underway to try and reach a secondary agreement with the Europeans as well to solve, and correct some of the fatal flaws of this deal."
As for U.S. Israel relations, Dermer said, "they have never been better than they are right now under President Trump."
"We are now lined up on the single most important and strategic security issue facing Israel, which is Iran and the dangers it poses to our future," he added.