President Donald Trump is likely to continue waving harsh sanctions on Iran this weekend as part of US commitments under a nuclear deal he aggressively opposes.
The Associated Press reported exclusively on Wednesday night that Trump would likely sign the waivers, quoting administration sources. He was scheduled to discuss the matter with his national security staff on Thursday afternoon, and the State Department told reporters to expect a formal decision by Friday.
Every 120 days since the nuclear deal was initiated under Barack Obama, the president is required either to continue waivers related to Iran’s nuclear program, or else let them resume, effectively pulling the US out of the multilateral nuclear accord.
Trump has waved these sanctions once before, but declined in October to “certify” under US law that Tehran has adequately abided by the agreement.
At that time, he warned Congress that, without a legislative fix to the accord, he would pull out of the deal completely. In order to avoid that, Democrats and Republicans this week assured the Trump administration that a bill addressing “holes” in the nuclear deal is in the offing.
Such legislation would likely amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires the president to certify the deal in the first place. Democrats, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin of Maryland, say they will not support legislation that serves to undermine the 2015 deal or to ostracize America’s allies in Europe, which are party to the agreement and strongly support it.