Top Democrats Ask Trump Administration for Proof Iran Is Not Complying With Nuclear Deal

Seven senators ask why, if Trump had certified Iran's compliance twice in the past, he is now hinting at a possible declaration of Iran's breach of the deal's terms

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 19, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 19, 2017. Drew Angerer/AFP

Seven senior Democratic senators sent a letter to the Trump administration Wednesday seeking clarifications regarding the administration's position on the Iran nuclear deal. The senators asked why, if Trump had certified Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal twice in the past, the administration is now hinting at a possible declaration of Iran's breach of the deal's terms and potentially endangering the agreement itself. 

The group of Senators is led by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was one of only five Democratic senators to vote against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. In the letter, Cardin and his colleagues wrote that three weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran has not broken the nuclear deal. 

"We are unaware of any information in the interim that would argue for a change in those determinations," the Senators wrote. Their letter comes three weeks before the next date Trump will have to report to Congress on whether or not Iran is in compliance with the deal. 

"In light of the upcoming certification decision the President must make with respect to Iran’s compliance, if you are aware of any information that would suggest that Iran is no longer complying [with the deal] or that would lead the President to conclude that the continued suspension of sanctions is no longer in the vital national security interests of the United States, we request that you provide a written report containing such information and, as appropriate, public testimony [in the Senate]."

On Wednesday, Trump said he has made a decision as to whether he will certify the nuclear deal next month, but refused to elaborate on his conclusion. During his speech a day earlier at the UN, Trump called the deal "an embarrassment" to the United States.