July 23, 2017

Trump and some of his allies are apparently unhappy with Sec. of State Rex Tillerson for certifying the Iranian nuclear deal, and according to an article in Foreign Policy Magazine, are going to do their best to undermine the agreement: Trump Assigns White House Team to Target Iran Nuclear Deal, Sidelining State Department:

After a contentious meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week, President Donald Trump instructed a group of trusted White House staffers to make the potential case for withholding certification of Iran at the next 90-day review of the nuclear deal. The goal was to give Trump what he felt the State Department had failed to do: the option to declare that Tehran was not in compliance with the contentious agreement.

“The president assigned White House staffers with the task of preparing for the possibility of decertification for the 90-day review period that ends in October — a task he had previously given to Secretary Tillerson and the State Department,” a source close to the White House told Foreign Policy. [...]

FP spoke with three sources who were either invited to take part in the new process or were briefed on the president’s decision on certification. All described the new process as a way to work around the State Department, which the president felt pushed certification forward by giving him no other options. [...]

On Monday morning, work was on track for the administration to again certify that Iran was meeting the necessary conditions, but the president expressed second thoughts around midday. A meeting between Trump and Tillerson that afternoon quickly turned into a meltdown.

A third source with intimate knowledge of that meeting said Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist, and Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, were particularly vocal, repeatedly asking Tillerson to explain the U.S. national security benefits of certification. “They repeatedly questioned Rex about why recertifying would be good for U.S. national security, and Rex was unable to answer,” the source said.

“The president kept demanding why he should certify, and the answers Tillerson gave him infuriated him,” the source added.

MSNBC's Joy Reid spoke to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson this Sunday and got his thoughts on the matter.

WILKERSON: Disturbing development Joy. This is the most singular diplomatic achievement by the United States since George H. W. Bush talked the rest of the world into accepting the reunification of Germany and its retention in NATO. Monumental achievement, and it has stopped Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.

And the only other alternative is war and a war that would feature an invasion, because that's the only way you would eradicate the program. That would be a disaster that would make Iraq pale in comparison, but that's where we're headed.

And I think you're right in assuming that this team's ultimate mission is to undermine this agreement to make it look, if they can, like Iran is in noncompliance with the nuclear agreement, and therefore we have a reason to be in noncompliance ourselves, when in fact, we will have undermined it.

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