USA to continue sanction relief for Iran as part of nuclear deal

IAEA Director General

Critics say Trump abandoning the deal would pave the way for Iran to resume nuclear enrichment and would send a signal to North Korea and other proliferators that a diplomatic solution can be scrapped at the president's whim.

Trump has publicly contemplated withholding certification of the JCPOA in mid-October regardless of Iranian actions, which would nearly certainly upend the nuclear accord by triggering the reinstatement of nuclear sanctions.

President Donald Trump's administration has been debating for months whether to scuttle the nuclear deal, as Trump threatened to do as a candidate.

Trump faces a couple of deadlines.

"This is not something we're going to get for nothing", said Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington. The White House is seeking ways to find that Tehran is not complying with the agreement.

If the president decides by the October 14 deadline to decertify the Iran deal, it would kick off a 60-day period in which Congress must decide whether to reinstate sanctions on Iran by a simple majority vote. And still today, the fallout from the invasion is undermining USA national security.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration approved waivers of some sanctions to "maintain some flexibility" as it develops a policy to address the range of Iranian behavior.

Iran rejects that it has broken the agreement.

Colin Kahl, who served as the national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, told reporters in a teleconference on Wednesday that unilateral US sanctions would be opposed by European allies and would not have the same impact as those introduced with global support before the 2015 deal.

Under the law, these sanctions can be waived for a maximum of 120 days, forcing the USA government revisit the issue every four months. Such certification is needed by United States law every 90 days in order for the Congress to continue to withhold nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

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"Access under the Additional Protocol will be used by the IAEA to verify at undeclared sites that no unapproved nuclear activity is occurring".

But first Trump must decide to extend sanctions relief to Iran under a separate clock.

The officials weren't authorized to discuss such internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Yukiya Amano, chief of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, reconfirmed on Monday that Iran is honoring its commitments under the nuclear deal. They argue that at the very least Iran is violating the spirit of the agreement with its ballistic missile tests.

Johnson said there are two sides to the deal: The Islamic Republic behaving itself, and the US and the others ensuring Iran enjoys economic benefits.

Tehran says it plans to adhere to the nuclear deal regardless of any probable USA decision to withdraw from the agreement.

Sherman warned against decertification, saying it would rob the USA of any leverage against Iran, drive a wedge between the US and its European allies, undermine American credibility in other negotiations such as on North Korea and NAFTA, and empower hardliners in Iran.

But he said those violations don't constitute serious-enough breaches to jeopardize the deal and that Iran returned to compliance after being caught.

The current crisis with North Korea has been discussed often in this context - that tearing up the Iran deal would harm US credibility with North Korea as it tries to negotiate for Pyongyang to denuclearize.

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