Trump’s comments on ‘calm before storm’ spooks experts
Tucson Post - Saturday 7th October, 2017
Trump met military leaders and praised them for their efforts
Trump told reporters, the meeting represents the calm before the storm
Trump did not answer whether he was referring to Iran or ISIS
WASHINGTON, U.S. - With all eyes on the October 15 deadline, before which U.S. President Donald Trump will make his decision about the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear agreement public - Trump has now issued some cryptic clues of what his decision might be.
The president’s close aides believe that Trump will announce his secret decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal on October 12.
On Thursday, Trump invited military leaders and their spouses for a dinner at the White House.
Later, at a photo opportunity in the State Dining Room following the crucial meeting, Trump addressed reporters and said, "You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm."
Giving away very little apart from the cryptic warning, reporters questioned him whether he was referring to Iran or ISIS, but the President left them guessing and only replied, "You'll find out."
Commenting on the military leaders, he said, "We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that.”
Later reports noted that during the meeting, Trump made his continued displeasure with Iran clear to the military leaders.
He accusing the country of "breaking the spirit" of the nuclear agreement by failing to curb its weapons development programme.
Addressing the leaders gathered in the Cabinet Room, Trump reportedly said, "They have not lived up to the spirit of the agreement. The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions.”
Trump also said that his discussion with the senior military leaders also involved “challenges that we really should have taken care of a long time ago, like North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, ISIS, and the revisionist powers that threaten our interests all around the world.”
Close aides believe Trump is expected to "decertify" the landmark agreement, however, he has so far, only said, "You will be hearing about Iran very shortly."
However, another assumption of his remarks, experts believe could be that the U.S. is about to launch a military conflict.
The assumption stems from another vague comment Trump made while addressing reporters, issuing a threat at the Kim Jong Un-led government, saying, “We cannot allow this dictatorship to threaten our nation or our allies with unimaginable loss of life,” and the U.S. “will do what we must do” to prevent that.
Trump made some other odd comments, saying “tremendous progress” has been made regarding ISIS, adding, “I guess the media’s going to be finding out about that over the next short period of time.”
He also mentioned that going forward, he expects the officials to offer “a broad range of military options, when needed, at a much faster pace.”
Meanwhile, if Trump’s statement were meant for Iran, experts believe it is possible he was referring to the international political storm that could come about if he decertifies the agreement.
If Trump fails to certify the accord, Congress will then decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran.
Last year, during his presidential campaign, Trump vehemently opposed the deal but contended that he can renegotiate its terms.
In 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran and the six-nation group including Russia, U.K., China, U.S., France and Germany.
The agreement on the settlement of the long-standing Iran nuclear problem led to the lifting of sanctions introduced against Iran due to its nuclear program by the UN Security Council, the U.S. and the European Union.
In return, Tehran obliged to limit its nuclear activity by placing it under international control.
The deal was launched in January 2016.
Now, Trump is reportedly planning to decertify the deal on the grounds it does not serve U.S. security interests.
However, some of the President’s top advisers, including Defence Secretary James Mattis appear to back the deal.
Meanwhile, the European Commission said on Friday that the deal was working and all sides should stick to their commitments.
Addressing a news conference in Brussels, a Commission spokeswoman said, "We are following very closely all the developments on the deal... reminding that it is a non-proliferation deal, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, that it's working, delivering as it has been verified eight times by the international agency for atomic energy. It is a durable, long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue which gives all sides the necessary assurances and we expect all sides to stick to their commitments under the deal.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and said, “I don’t like commenting on gossip, and I respect mass media opinion, but this is, still, mere guesswork.”
He added that Moscow sees "signals from the White House regarding President Trump’s intentions to make a final decision on whether to preserve the U.S. participation in the agreement on settlement of the Iran nuclear program.”
He added, “We believe that this program is one of the most important achievements of the global community and that its implementation makes feasible contribution to strengthening of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. It would be very important to fully preserve it, and the U.S. participation would be a very important factor in this regard.”
Lavrov said, “We hope that the current contacts between European states, other global community members and Washington that involve this issue will not be futile and that the ultimate decision that the U.S. president will make will be measured and based on the current circumstances. And the current circumstances, as they stand, will definitely make this program highly desirable.”
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