[Ed. – Mattis is said to have agreed with Tillerson and McMaster. It’s no surprise to find these officials having a very conventional perspective. If Trump wants to craft a strategy to upend the JCPOA, he’ll basically have to do it himself. That’s what Reagan had to do.]
[J]ust as Tillerson was preparing to inform Congress on Monday that Iran remained in compliance with what is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Trump called it off, according to administration officials. He wanted to know his options and what would happen if Tillerson didn’t make the announcement. …
Eventually, Trump walked back from the ledge, and the administration certified Tehran’s compliance.
But White House and other administration officials tell me the president nonetheless is serious about cracking down on Iran for its regional aggression, and is leaning closer to those of his advisers who are pushing him to pull out of the agreement that defines Obama’s foreign policy legacy.
In this sense, he is moving away from some of the most important members of his national security cabinet. Administration officials tell me that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Tillerson have made the case that it was in the U.S. national interest to certify Iran’s compliance. They argued that the deal is structured so that the U.S. and its allies delivered the benefits to Iran up front. This included sanctions relief, a recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and removing Iranian companies and individuals from various sanctions lists.