President Trump on Friday faced a deadline on whether to kill the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and five other nations, and reinstate the sanctions against the Islamic Republic, or keep it in place, despite the fact that he views as faulty and dangerous. In the end, trump renewed the deal, but issued the following warning:
“I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal,” Mr. Trump said. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately. No one should doubt my word.”
“Attention will now turn to whether Congress can pass a robust fix,” writes The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren. “There were several stories this week describing the push for new legislation, so the broad outlines are clear… There is a Senate version being drafted by Senator Bob Corker (R-Ten), and a House version being drafted by Rep Peter Roskam (R-Il). There is significant distance between the two versions, with the House version being the stronger of the two.”
The Trump administration also slapped new sanctions on Iran, reportedly for human-rights abuses by the Iranian regime during the civil protests of the last few weeks, and for weapons proliferation across the Middle East. One US official told the Washington Times that the actions “will send a very strong message that the United States is not going to tolerate their continued abuses.”
In addition to tightening the effectiveness of the verification of the deal, the Trump White House also expects that a modified version would include a prohibition of Iran’s efforts to develop ballistic missiles with a range that includes Israel. The administration also wants the sunset clause taken off the deal, keeping the prohibition on nuclear production in place forever.