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President Donald Trump is likely to decertify the nuclear deal with Iran and turn it back to Congress for possible renewed sanctions, senior U.S. officials said Thursday.
Trump is expected to announce his plans in a speech next week in which he will say the agreement is not in the U.S. national interest, the officials said.
This would not scrap the 2015 deal, but instead return it to Congress. Lawmakers would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions that were suspended under the agreement.
A decertification could also open the door to renegotiate the deal, although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that is not an option.
Trump has to announce every 90 days whether Iran is in compliance. His next deadline is October 15.
Meeting with his top military aides at the White House Thursday, Trump repeated his assertion that Iran has not lived up to “the spirit of the agreement.”
“The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions,” he said
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not say Thursday what the president planned to do, other than saying he would “make an announcement about the decision that he’s made on a comprehensive strategy that his team supports” in the coming days.
Iran signed the agreement with the former Obama administration in 2015, along with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
Curb on uranium enrichment
The agreement primarily calls on Iran to curb its uranium enrichment program so it can no longer be able to build a nuclear bomb. In exchange, the U.S. and its allies would lift many of the sanctions that have wrecked the Iranian economy.
Iran has so far been in compliance with the agreement, but the White House has accused Iran of violating the “spirit” of the deal.
Trump has fiercely criticized it as a one-sided deal that gives Iran all the advantages. The administration has also continued to accuse Iran of sponsoring terrorism and calling for Israel’s destruction.