Nikki Haley, the US permanent ambassador to the UN, speaks at UN headquarters in New York on September 5. Photo: Kena Betancur | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US Envoy to the UN Nikki Haley spoke to a Washington think tank laying out arguments for the US to declare Iran in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, although the UN deemed the country to be compliant last week.
"If the president finds that he cannot in good faith certify Iranian compliance, he would initiate a process whereby we move beyond narrow technicalities and look at the big picture," Haley said at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday.
However UN inspectors released a report last Thursday stating Iran was in compliance with the deal.
“Iran has conducted its enrichment activities in line” with the plan agreed in the 2015 deal with world powers, stated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
As of August 21, Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium was well below limits and its supply of heavy water was also below ascribed restrictions after Iran exported 19.1 tonnes to an unnamed country. Iran had previously slightly exceeded the agreed ceiling of 130 tonnes. Heavy water is used as a moderator in a reactor that can produce plutonium.
IAEA monitors Iran’s compliance via site visits, remote monitoring, containment seals, and satellite imagery.
Haley also suggested that Iran could be deemed as non-compliant based on its ballistic missile development which is excluded from the deal but is still illegal under other UN resolutions.
"You can call it non-nuclear all you want: Missile technology cannot be separate from pursuit of a nuclear weapon," Haley said.
US President Donald Trump’s administration reluctantly announced that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement after meeting with top security advisors in mid-July.
“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal on July 25.
Trump has called the JCPOA, “the worst deal ever.”
The next deadline will come in October and Trump has already said that he thinks by then the US will declare Iran to be non-compliant.
Haley met with the IAEA in Vienna last week in an attempt to pressure the agency to inspect Iranian military sites. Iran rejected US demands.
“Iran’s military sites are off limits. All information about these sites are classified,” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said last week, Reuters reported. “Iran will never allow such visits.”
Haley also acknowledged that US allies in Europe are trying to push Washington to stay in the deal, but added, “This is about US national security. This is not about European security."