Dermer: Trump Made the Right Decision to Decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal

By NTK Staff | 10.18.2017 @7:17am
Dermer: Trump Made the Right Decision to Decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal

“[Trump] needs…Congress to actually fix the deal to take certain steps that will turn a bad deal into a sound policy," Ambassador Ron Dermer told NTK.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer sat down with NTK Network for an exclusive interview to discuss President Trump’s decision not to certify the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s continued efforts to establish a land bridge in the Middle East, Qatar’s destabilizing actions in the region, and his own political future.

Iran Nuclear Deal

Ambassador Dermer said that President Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal was the “right and responsible thing,” and he expressed confidence that the U.S. Congress could fix the issues with the deal.

President Trump announced last week that he would not recertify the Iran nuclear deal, effectively passing the buck to Congress to strengthen the deal.

Congress now must come up with a strategy that deals with Iran’s ballistic missile program, its destabilizing activities in the region, its support for terrorism, and the sunset provision that ends the deal’s nuclear requirements in 2025. But Congress must also receive support from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Iran itself on any plan it approves.

Ambassador Dermer was optimistic that the U.S. Congress would be able to fix the issues with the Iran nuclear deal and receive support from European leaders.

“I think it’s challenging, but I think it’s possible,” he told NTK.

Dermer said that President Trump “does not need Congress to terminate the deal,” pointing out that the president has the power to do that himself.

“What [Trump] needs from Congress is he needs Congress to actually fix the deal, to take certain steps that will turn a bad deal into a sound policy,” he explained.

However, the ambassador admitted he doubted that Trump would receive support from Moscow, Tehran, or Beijing.

“The question is: can he get some of the European states to stand with him, and can he get bipartisan support in Congress? I think it’s possible,” he said.

“President Trump basically has left everybody with a simple choice: either fix the deal, or I’m going to nix the deal,” the ambassador added. “So I think those who want to save the deal, it behooves them to work with the president to try and enact fixes that can turn it into a much better policy.”

Dermer voiced confidence that Congress and European leaders could find agreement on implementing “crippling sanctions on Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.”

“I think that’s something they could do. In fact, that’s something the French president even talked about himself – that he was willing to discuss that with the United States,” he said.

Dermer also expressed confidence that both the United States and Europe could agree on a policy in which “every site in Iran has to be subject to inspections, including military sites.”

“[Trump] can work with the Congress to address the main flaw, the major flaw, in the deal which is the sunset clause,” the ambassador continued. “It doesn’t matter if Iran continues to be the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world. The [nuclear restrictions] are automatically removed at a date certain in the future. Now, that can’t happen.”

Dermer praised the American president for the action: “[Trump] has done the right and responsible thing as an American president and said, ‘I’m not prepared to drive my country or my allies in the region off a cliff. I’m going to move this in a different direction.’ And I hope everyone will use this opportunity to work with the president at fixing the mess he inherited.”

Iran’s Land Bridge

Ambassador Dermer voiced grave concern over Iran’s continued development of a land bridge in the Middle East, telling NTK that it “brings Israel and Iran closer and closer to conflict.”

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, during his address to the United Nations addressed the issue:

“From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel.”

Dermer echoed Netanyahu’s concerns, saying:

“An Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. We can’t allow that to happen. Israel has very clear red lines when it comes to Syria. We have made clear that we will act to prevent Iran from establishing terror bases against Israel in Syria, military bases, air bases, land bases, sea bases. And we will act to prevent Iran from using Syria to smuggle these very sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah.”

On Qatar’s Support For Extremist Groups

The Trump administration has been vocal about asking Qatar to cease its association with extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, a criticism that Dermer agreed with.

“We agree with the Gulf States, with the Saudis and the Emiratis on this issue,” the ambassador explained. “Qatar is not a positive force in the Middle East. They support the Muslim Brotherhood across the region. They support terror organizations like Hamas [and] other terror organizations in Syria.”

He quoted a commentator who called the Gulf nation “a television [network] with a state.”

“They have a network, Al Jazeera, that foments instability, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism throughout the Middle East, and it’s very, very dangerous,” Dermer said. “I think the Saudis and Emirates and the other Gulf states are quite right to be concerned, and hopefully enough pressure will be brought to bear on Qatar that they will change their ways.”

Dermer expressed hope that Qatar would “move away” from Iran and terrorism and eventually “become a responsible country in the Middle East.”

Dermer on His Own Political Future:

As for his own political future, Ambassador Dermer said that he was focused solely on being the Israeli Ambassador to the United States:

“I’m focused on one thing: doing the best job that I can as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. It’s a great privilege to be able to serve in this important position practically because I was born and raised in this great country, and I’ll continue to do everything I can to strengthen the relationship between Israel and our most important ally in the world and to do whatever I can to help secure the future for the one and only Jewish state.”

Sign Up

for NTK updates every week.