Summary of the Presidential Memorandum: “Ceasing U.S. Participation in the JCPOA and Taking Additional Action to Counter Iran’s Malign Influence and Deny Iran All Paths to a Nuclear Weapon”

2018/05/30

By: Ashleigh Foor

(Source: The White House)

On May 8, 2018, President Trump addressed the United States in a Presidential Memorandum, “Ceasing U.S. Participation in the JCPOA and Taking Additional Action to Counter Iran’s Malign Influence and Deny Iran All Paths to a Nuclear Weapon”. He started by stating that the safety and security of the United States and the American people is his highest priority. He then stated that since the inception of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the revolutionary theocracy has declared its hostility toward the United States and remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, listing other offenses such as human rights abuses and proving assistance to Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, al-Qa’ida, and other terrorist networks.

“There is no doubt that Iran previously attempted to bolster its revolutionary aims through the pursuit of nuclear weapons and that Iran’s uranium enrichment program continues to give it the capability to reconstitute its weapons-grade uranium program if it so chooses,” stated the President. Therefore, as President, he has approved an “integrated strategy for Iran that includes the strategic objective of denying Iran all paths to a nuclear weapon.”

Trump then goes on to explain the preceding administration’s participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as an attempt to meet the threat of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities. Although some believed the JCPOA would moderate Iran’s behavior, he said, Iran has only escalated its destabilizing activities. “Iran’s behavior threatens the national interest of the United States,” said the President. On January 12, 2018, Trump outlined two paths moving forward – that the JCPOA’s “disastrous flaws would be fixed by May 12, 2018, or, failing that, the United States would cease participation in the agreement.” He states that these issues were not fixed and that he is making good on his pledge to end the United States’ participation in the JCPOA. “Further, I have determined that it is in the national interest of the United States to re-impose sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA as expeditiously as possible,” Trump stated.

The changes are outlined below:

Section 1.  Policy.  It is the policy of the United States that Iran be denied a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles; that Iran’s network and campaign of regional aggression be neutralized; to disrupt, degrade, or deny the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its surrogates access to the resources that sustain their destabilizing activities; and to counter Iran’s aggressive development of missiles and other asymmetric and conventional weapons capabilities.  The United States will continue to pursue these aims and the objectives contained in the Iran strategy that I announced on October 13, 2017, adjusting the ways and means to achieve them as required.

Sec. 2.  Ending United States Participation in the JCPOA.  The Secretary of State shall, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Energy, take all appropriate steps to cease the participation of the United States in the JCPOA.

Sec. 3.  Restoring United States Sanctions.  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury shall immediately begin taking steps to re-impose all United States sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including those under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, and the Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act of 2012.  These steps shall be accomplished as expeditiously as possible, and in no case later than 180 days from the date of this memorandum.  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury shall coordinate, as appropriate, on steps needed to achieve this aim.  They shall, for example, coordinate with respect to preparing any recommended executive actions, including appropriate documents to re-impose sanctions lifted by Executive Order 13716 of January 16, 2016; preparing to re-list persons removed, in connection with the JCPOA, from any relevant sanctions lists, as appropriate; revising relevant sanctions regulations; issuing limited waivers during the wind-down period, as appropriate; and preparing guidance necessary to educate United States and non-United States business communities on the scope of prohibited and sanctionable activity and the need to unwind any such dealings with Iranian persons.  Those steps should be accomplished in a manner that, to the extent reasonably practicable, shifts the financial burden of unwinding any transaction or course of dealing primarily onto Iran or the Iranian counterparty.

Sec. 4.  Preparing for Regional Contingencies.  The Secretary of Defense and heads of any other relevant agencies shall prepare to meet, swiftly and decisively, all possible modes of Iranian aggression against the United States, our allies, and our partners.  The Department of Defense shall ensure that the United States develops and retains the means to stop Iran from developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon and related delivery systems.

Sec. 5.  Monitoring Iran’s Nuclear Conduct and Consultation with Allies and Partners.  Agencies shall take appropriate steps to enable the United States to continue to monitor Iran’s nuclear conduct.  I am open to consultations with allies and partners on future international agreements to counter the full range of Iran’s threats, including the nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missile threats, and the heads of agencies shall advise me, as appropriate, regarding opportunities for such consultations.

Sec. 6.  General Provisions.

(a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.