Of divers, despots and dictators: Iran’s nuclear deal turns 2

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Greetings everyone!

First of all, I want to express my best wishes to our website Editor-in-Chief, Michele Hickford, who had major reconstructive knee surgery yesterday. She is recovering, and resting, at her place in South Florida. It will be awhile for her to get back to her normal speed, since she tore her meniscus and ACL. However, if you know Michele, she will try her best to speed up her recovery. As a matter of fact, she’s already talking about scuba diving for Labor Day. Of course, I think she will need assistance, and even though she is an accomplished Divemaster, she will require certification.

And that leads me to the nexus of this missive, the word certification.

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As reported by Fox News:

At the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Iran nuclear agreement, the Trump administration has hinted it will again certify that Iran is in compliance.

A senior State Department official noted the Trump administration is examining the United States’ entire policy toward Iran and that the administration, during its review, “will adhere to the JCPOA [Iran nuclear agreement] and will ensure that Iran is held strictly accountable to its requirements.”

Congress requires the administration certify every 90 days whether Iran is in compliance. Monday is the second of these 90-day deadlines during the Trump administration.

The U.S., for the first time during the Trump presidency, certified in April that Iran was in compliance. Though in his letter informing House Speaker Paul Ryan of his decision, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also announced his department “will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

For Monday’s deadline, the State Department deferred to that policy review.

“We have said, and the administration has said, that at least until that review has been completed that we will adhere to the JCPOA,” said Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesperson. “That has not changed. We’ll ensure that Iran is held strictly accountable to its requirements.”

The administration has offered no timeline on announcing its Iran policy. Though four Republican senators said there is no reason to wait to declare Iran is failing to adhere to the agreement.”

Let’s continue to use the analogy of Hickford scuba diving for Labor Day, as an example of certification:

Having been with the Dive Pirates, there are means by which divers with physical constraints can be accommodated. The dive boat must be checked and certified before it can accommodate an individual with a physical impairment. That includes ensuring there’s a platform to allow the individual to sit at the edge, in order to don their equipment. Also, there’s consideration given to returning to the dive boat, and the ability of the diver to be able to be retrieved from the water. And of course there is that certification from the doctor that Hickford will be cleared to dive (just a little secret to share, I didn’t ask my doctor about diving with a pacemaker…hush up).

Now, with all that being stated, my simple question is: just how do we know about Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?

I mean, did someone call them up and ask, “Hey, in between yelling ‘death to America,’ have y’all been abiding by the JCPOA mandates?”

First of all, we know that Iran hasn’t complied. They are seeking to acquire conventional weapons from other Nations. They have conducted missile tests. And, if you hadn’t noticed, Iran is conducting combat operations in Syria bolstering the Assad regime. They continue to support the documented Islamic terrorist organization known as Hezbollah, their proxy army.

Also, Iran is providing support to another Islamic jihadist group, Hamas. I guess all that harassment of US Naval vessels in international waters is just fine with the Trump administration, so Iran will get stamped, “Approved.”

What has to be perplexing — and if you’re honest, you’ll admit as much — is that during the campaign, President Trump railed, at length, against the Iranian nuclear agreement, referring to it as one of the worst deals.

I made my assessment known about the Iranian nuclear deal in a short speech in Times Square. I remain consistent, in that this agreement with the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, and a compliant partner with North Korea on nuclear weapon development, must be terminated.

The Fox News piece adds:

Congress requires the administration certify every 90 days whether Iran is in compliance. Monday is the second of these 90-day deadlines during the Trump administration.

The JCPOA was a non-binding Executive Agreement — not a treaty — and can be nullified by President Trump, just the same as the Paris Climate Accord.

It is imperative for the Trump administration to recognize the alliance that is forming against the West — and indeed liberty — between Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.

Therefore, a concentrated strategy must be developed that finds the critical center of gravity for this new 21st Century axis, and undermine their ability to pursue their goals and objectives.

We can ill afford to take a backseat there, and — just as the Trump administration has realized — that exporting our energy resources into Eastern Europe will have a determined effect on Russia’s economy.

We must also begin to peel the onion back on Iran. The first step will be to delegitimize Iran on the global stage, and negate their ability to partner with other Nations to bolster their economy — which, by the way was teetering on collapse before Barack Obama tossed them billions of US dollars as a lifeline.

The last thing we need is to play catch up with an Iran and North Korea, who would possess nuclear weapons and the long range delivery means to employ them. This is the hand Russia and China are playing: using these two proxies in order to tie us up, as they pursue their strategic end state. We shut down their respective dogs on a leash, we leave them unguarded.

Iran has already proven they have violated the JCPOA. If on Monday the Trump administration, again, certifies Iranian compliance — hard to assess how that is possible — it sends a chilling message to our enemies. That message is one of high energy campaign rhetoric, and no follow up.

I think President Trump has learned a tough lesson in thinking that showing off Mar-a-Lago to China’s President Xi Jinping would impress upon him some will to aid and assist with North Korea; a failing premise.

And from what I have read, and learned, it was the son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who set up that meeting. President Trump should have met with President Xi in the White House, and expressed, in no uncertain terms, the actions he was going to take in 30 days, unless those conditions were met.

Despots and dictators see random acts of etiquette and kindness as weakness. They only respect a strong hand…and this is what we must show Iran on Monday.

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