Iran's President Hassan Rouhani  listens during a news conference on his visit for the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Next week, President Trump is expected to announce that he will not certify Iran as being in compliance with the terms of the nuclear sell-out negotiated by John Kerry–with the assistance of Tehran’s willing tool, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes–because the IAEA cannot certify that Iran it keeping the deal and because Iran is egregiously violating various other agreements that were included in the nuclear deal. One of those egregious violations is its continued development and testing of ballistic missiles in defiance of a UN Security Council Resolution.

Trump’s refusal to certify would move the ball back to Congress which, I believe, is apt to respond very harshly to Tehran. (Yes, I’ve seen the articles that claims Congress is unwilling to act and I think those are Ben-Rhodes-inspired-or-authored disinformation.) Even if it doesn’t the Treasury Department has a lot of tools to impose sanctions. While there have been claims that the US will be diplomatically isolated if we refuse to certify, the fact is that money talks and bullsh** walks:

Before the nuclear deal, the United States imposed what are known as secondary sanctions, where the Treasury Department penalizes companies or people who do business with Iran. The fear is that the United States may revive those strict regulations — putting foreign companies doing business in Iran under the cloud of possible U.S. clampdowns.

“We need to be compliant with international law, or applicable law. And if sanctions come back and that means we cannot do our work inside or outside Iran, then we will stop,” the executive from the multinational said.

“Iran is a big market. It’s also quite a stable country,” the executive said. But multinational companies “have to consider markets around the world, and Iran today is still relatively small, compared to Europe or the U.S.”

The other line of attack has been that if the US refuses to certify compliance, that no one will feel safe entering into agreements with us. Just to be clear, the United States does not have an agreement with Iran. It is not a treaty and State Department, in 2015, said it was not an executive agreement but rather a “political agreement” between the Obama administration and Tehran.

The Iranians declared in April 2016 that they would not negotiate on ballistic missiles and in the aftermath of the last Iranian ballistic missile test their foreign minister blithely said that the missiles they were testing were not included in the UNSCR on Iran’s ballistic missile. In fact, various figures in the US foreign policy establishment have either agreed with the Iranians that ballistic missiles are not part of the JCPOA.

Now there is this:

Iran has signaled to six world powers that it is open to talks about its ballistic missile arsenal, seeking to reduce tension over the disputed program, Iranian and Western officials familiar with the overtures told Reuters.

Tehran has repeatedly vowed to continue building up what it calls defensive missile capability in defiance of Western criticism, with Washington saying the Islamic Republic’s stance violates its 2015 nuclear deal with the powers.

But the sources said that given U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to ditch the deal reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, Tehran had approached the powers recently about possible talks on some “dimensions” of its missile program.

“During their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month, Iran told members of the (world powers) that it could discuss the missile program to remove concerns,” an Iranian source with knowledge of the meeting told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

What this means is that Tehran knows that if the US begins to slap sanctions on Iran that its economy will begin to collapse. And imminent economic collapse is why they agreed to the JCPOA and what Obama saved them from. They know the “moral high ground” talk is bullsh**. They know they need the deal. With the decertification imminent, their best course of action is to blow a lot of smoke. By making an offer on ballistic missiles they keep the main part of the deal alive by seeming to be willing to negotiate. They, maybe, get the Congress and Euros to not act, pending the outcome of the negotiations. But they have also undercut their own non-negotiable position on ballistic missiles and this means they will be under pressure to renegotiate the JCPOA. They won’t and then Tehran will get credit for ending it.