US President Trump to decide whether Iran complies with JCPOA by Oct. 10

An approaching deadline, scheduled for the 15th of October, will force US President Donald Trump to decide whether or not the Islamic Republic of Iran has been complying with the 2015 nuclear agreement, which aims at limiting Tehran’s nuclear program is exchange for international sanctions relief. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a press briefing at the US State department, noted that President Trump will be presented with a couple of options with regard to the nuclear deal, yet reiterated his position that Washington’s relations with the Islamic Republic must not be defined solely by the nuclear agreement. Secretary Tillerson said, “We will have a recommendation for the President. We’re going to give him a couple of options of how to move forward to advance the important policy toward Iran. As you’ve heard us say many times: the JCPOA represents only a small part of the many issues that we need to deal with when it comes to the Iranian relationship. So, it is an important part of that but is not the only part. And, I’ve said many times: we cannot let the Iranian relationship be defined solely by that nuclear agreement,” the American top diplomat emphasized.

While senior US officials indicated that Trump was leaning toward not certifying Iran’s compliance with the international agreement, which the American leader has called on several occasions “an embarrassment”; the other five major powers that formulated the agreement with Iran continue to support the deal, warning of dangerous consequences if the nuclear agreement would collapse, including a possible regional arms race that could stoke already high tensions across the Middle East.

While deferring to a scrutinizing Presidential review of the international deal, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis during a hearing of the US Senate, voiced a more reconciling position, in which he emphasized that he would support preserving the nuclear agreement if Washington could determine that Iran was indeed abiding by the agreement and that it was in the best interest of the United States. Secretary Mattis declared, “If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interests, then, clearly, we should stay with it. I believe, at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with. There is another requirement: we certify that it’s in our best interests, and it goes into a broader definition of national security, broadening beyond the–, the issue–, the treaty itself–, or not the treaty, but the agreement itself. That means the President has to consider, more broadly, things that rightly fall under his–, his portfolio of looking out for the American people in areas that go beyond the specific letters of the JCPOA. In that regard, I support the rigorous review that he has got going on right now,” the American top defense official asserted.

While ten days are left before President Trump will have to make a decision on the matter, the American leader has already said that he made up his mind on the matter, but declined to disclose his decision.