Trump Was Right to Decertify the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, Congress Must Approve Treaties

President Trump’s refusal to certify the Iranian nuclear agreement has caused a great deal of consternation by focusing on the policy consequences and the likely escalation of tension with the Middle East’s most anti-American rogue regime.

“Decertifying compliance with the nuclear deal will make the world less safe and less trusting of Washington,” says a headline at

French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Angela Merkel issued a joint statement stating that they were “concerned by the possible implications” of Trump’s announcement and openly speculated that this could lead to war with Iran.

All the fuss over decertifying the Iran nuclear agreement misses the point: It should have been a treaty

The bigger problem with the controversy around the Iranian nuclear deal is that we’re discussing the “decertification” of a “nuclear framework” entered into by executive branch fiat with no congressional input.

There is no provision for presidential certifications or decertifications in the United States Constitution. Article II, Section, 2 grants the president “Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.”

From the outset of negotiations with Iran, it was clear that whatever agreement President Obama could negotiate with the mullahs was something that ought to be the province of a treaty between two nations, but there was never any real discussion about taking that route.

After all, treaties introduce 100 senators into the mix, making it far more difficult to reach a consensus than a scenario when the only thing necessary to seal a deal is a presidentially certified handshake.

Treaties are less efficient, but are Constitutionally proper, unlike executive ‘certifications’

That’s certainly a less efficient process, but the founders were less concerned with governmental efficiency than they were with unchecked executive power. Forcing an extensive negotiation between Congress and the White House ensures that nothing is enacted into law without a clear national consensus.

Trump is making the right constitutional move here.

That is lost on political observers who measure actions by their level of agreement with the policies they produce. In other words, Democrats don’t object if a Democrat bends the Constitution to suit their purposes. If Republicans like something, they aren’t opposed to President Trump doing the same.

In kicking the matter back to Congress, President Trump is placing the responsibility where it properly belongs – and where it should have belonged from the outset of this process.

(Photo of U.S. President Donald Trump delivering remarks on his executive order that aims to expand apprenticeships to train people for millions of unfilled skilled jobs by Olivier Douliery-Pool)


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