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This decision, which has been referred as “decertification,” would be a significant declaration but would put Congress in charge of whether or not to follow up with action, triggering a 60-day window for lawmakers to re-impose sanctions against Iran that were suspended in 2015 as part of the agreement.
Trump could also ask Congress to impose additional non-nuclear sanctions — such as penalties against Iran’s ballistic missile program — on Iran, which would not end U.S. participation in the nuclear agreement. He could also ask lawmakers to amend the existing law requiring he re-certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement every 90 days.
Tehran and world powers in July 2015 crafted a deal that eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for stepped-up international monitoring of its nuclear development activities. The agreement reduced the amount of nuclear fuel Iran can keep and extended the “breakout time” needed for Iran to create a single bomb. Some of Iran’s facilities are now also subject to constant monitoring, with others subject to inspections after a waiting period.
Top officials on the Trump national security team, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, have said Iran has technically complied with the nuclear deal.
Republicans critical of the initial deal have urged the administration to enforce it.
“As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a hearing Wednesday. “Let’s work with allies to make certain that international inspectors have better access to possible nuclear sites, and we should address the fundamental sunset shortcoming, as our allies have recognized.”