The Trump White House is reportedly pushing intelligence analysts to find Iranian violations of the JCPOA when they don’t exist:
US intelligence officials are under pressure from the White House to produce a justification to declare Iran in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, in an echo of the politicisation of intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion, according to former officials and analysts.
It is telling that the White House has to resort to manipulating the intelligence on Iran and the nuclear deal, as it shows that the only way to discover Iranian violations of the deal is to distort intelligence analysis and make them up. Trump’s desire to renege on the deal has been obvious for some time, especially when he practically promised to deny that Iran was in compliance with the agreement earlier this summer regardless of the facts. According to this latest report, the White House first wants to cook the intelligence so they will have some pretext for doing that. The attempt to pressure analysts into giving the White House the answers it wants may be backfiring because of the obvious similarities to what the Bush administration did before the invasion of Iraq:
“Anecdotally, I have heard this from members of the intelligence community – that they feel like they have come under pressure,” said Ned Price, a former CIA analyst who also served as a national security council spokesman and special assistant to Barack Obama. “They told me there was a sense of revulsion. There was a sense of déjà vu. There was a sense of ‘we’ve seen this movie before’.” [bold mine-DL]
Regardless of what one thinks about the merits of the nuclear deal, Iran has been complying with its obligations. That has been verified by the IAEA on multiple occasions since the agreement was made. Assuming that it hasn’t and then distorting intelligence in order to back that up not only “stands the intelligence process on its head,” as former CIA deputy director David Cohen puts it, but it goes looking for a problem where none currently exists.