On January 25, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled al Sabah made a rare one-day visit to Tehran and called for a frank dialogue between Iran and its Arab neighbors. He delivered a message to President Hassan Rouhani from his country’s emir, Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, the details of which have not been publicized. The minister said that Iran and Kuwait should find common ground on combating terrorism and boost bilateral ties for the sake of regional security.
President Hassan Rouhani will be up for reelection in May 2017. His popularity peaked in August 2015 with an 89 percent favorability rating just after the nuclear deal was brokered between Iran and the world’s six major powers. As of December 2016, however, only 68 percent of Iranians viewed him favorably, according to a new poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll.com.
Some 71 percent of Iranians believe that President Donald Trump is likely to decide not to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal, according to a new poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll.com. Some 59 percent of Iranians think Tehran should reject renegotiating the agreement if Trump demands to increase the duration of the deal. Enthusiasm for the deal in general, however, has waned. In September 2015, 77 percent of Iranians approved of the deal, compared with 55 percent in December 2016.
On January 18, Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on her nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration. She called the U.N. Security Council endorsement of the nuclear deal with Iran a “huge disappointment” and said the new administration would need “to do a lot of things to fix what’s happened.” But Haley did not advocate for pulling out of the agreement. The following are excerpts from the hearing related to Iran.
Under the nuclear deal, Iran was required to remove certain infrastructure and excess centrifuges from the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant by the one-year anniversary of implementation, January 16, 2017. The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Yukiya Amano, and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, have both confirmed Iran’s compliance. Their remarks are below.
On January 13, President Obama sent letters to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Iran. The following is the full text.
On January 12, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a confirmation hearing for Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Donald Trump’s nominee for Central Intelligence Agency Director. He said that as a member of Congress, he opposed the nuclear deal, but acknowledged that his role would change upon confirmation. “First, you have my commitment that we, if I’m confirmed at the Agency, will continue to evaluate their compliance with the Agreement in the way that you just described the Agency has been doing to date,” he said.
On January 11, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to be secretary of state in the Donald Trump administration. He said Iran poses a great threat to the world because of its “refusal to conform to international norms.” If confirmed, Tillerson said that he would conduct a “full review” of the nuclear deal and begin considering next steps.
Nearly two thirds of Americans oppose withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal to negotiate a better one, according to a new survey from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC). “Though President-elect [Donald] Trump campaigned on ripping up the deal and seeking to negotiate a better one, the majority of Americans would rather continue with the deal as long as Iran continues to comply with its terms,” said PPC Director Steven Kull.
On January 2, 37 top scientists from the United States wrote to President-elect Donald Trump urging him not to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. The agreement “provides a strong bulwark against an Iranian nuclear-weapons program,” they wrote. “We urge you to preserve this critical U.S. strategic asset.”