- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The United States must remain a party to the controversial nuclear deal with Iran or risk upending security and stability in the region, British Prime Minister Theresa May warned President Trump Monday.

During Monday’s telephone call, Mrs. May “reaffirmed the U.K.’s strong commitment to the deal alongside our European partners, saying it was vitally important for regional security,” a readout of the conversation provided by the British Embassy said.

The prime minister and Mr. Trump “also discussed the need for the U.K., U.S. and others to work together to counter destabilizing Iranian activity in the region,” while Mrs. May urged the White House to “remain in contact ahead of the decision on recertification.”

The Trump administration is reportedly weighing whether to decertify the 2015 deal involving Iran, the U.S. and five international partners over Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program. The decision on whether to decertify the deal, which granted Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for greater transparency into its nuclear efforts, is due to Congress on Sunday.

While decertification would not result in the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark agreement, it would open the door for Congress to reinstitute harsh sanctions against Iran, a move Tehran has stridently opposed.

Both on the campaign trail and from the White House, Mr. Trump has characterized the pact as “an embarrassment” and “one of the worst diplomatic deals” ever negotiated by the United States.

Mr. Trump’s harsh rhetoric against Iran during a speech before the United Nations last month prompted widespread speculation that the administration was on track to decertify the nuclear deal.

Mr. Trump discussed his thoughts on the deal and possible U.S. actions, with British Prime Minster Theresa May for nearly an hour, after his fiery speech before the U.N., said Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the United States Kim Darroch

While Mr. Trump did not discuss what he plans to do regarding U.S. participation in the deal with Ms. May, “he did explain, at length, what he did not like about the deal,” Mr. Darroch said during a speech in Washington last month.

The White House argues that transparency measures included in the deal do not provide enough visibility into Iran’s nuclear activities.

“How much do you trust the Iranian regime? I do not think you can trust them very much,” National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said last month during a defense symposium in Washington, noting that Tehran in the past took great strides in keeping its nuclear program in the shadows.

On Monday, Mrs. May “stressed that it was important that the deal was carefully monitored and properly enforced,” yet diplomats from the U.K. and European Union say there is no sign that Iran has balked on any part of the Obama-era pact.

“There has been no evidence” that Tehran was not complying with the transparency and oversight requirements on its nuclear program included in the deal, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States David O’Sullivan said in September.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told Congress Thursday that if Iran can show it is complying with the terms of the deal, the U.S. should recertify the nuclear pact, in the interest of national security.

“If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then clearly we should stay with it,” he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with.”

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