With a new White House, many have wondered about the fate of the 2015 nuclear agreement made between the Obama administration and Iran.
The Trump administration’s stance on the agreement became a little clearer on Tuesday when the administration notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement, and that the United States would therefore extend the sanctions relief granted to Iran as part of that agreement.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, wrote that Iran remained compliant with the agreement, but that the administration was concerned about Tehran’s support for terrorism and is reviewing whether to continue suspending sanctions, as required under the deal.
Congress mandated that the State Department must notify it every 90 days about Iran’s compliance with its nuclear obligations. Tuesday’s letter was the first such notification by the Trump administration.
Significantly, Tillerson also added:
President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the [agreement] is vital to the national security interests of the United States.
This statement casts doubt on whether the administration will continue to grant Iran sanctions relief in the future. At a minimum, it reinforces the administration’s previous warning that Tehran is “on notice” about its malign behavior.
The bottom line is that the Trump administration has approved 90 days more of sanctions relief for Iran. But the pending policy review may lead the president to withdraw this concession in the future.
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