President Donald Trump will waive sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran for the last time in a bid to negotiate a follow-on agreement to the 2015 nuclear deal which puts permanent restrictions on the regime, senior administration officials told reporters Friday.
Trump opted not to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal in October 2017, citing the regime’s ongoing terrorist activity in the Middle East and its relentless pursuit of a ballistic missile program.
His administration emphasized at the time their displeasure with the flaws of the deal which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described as the deal’s “sunset clause” — the lack of mechanism to ensure that Iran does not pursue a nuclear weapon after the expiry date of the agreement, its ongoing ballistic missile program, and continued malign influence in the region.
The new strategy is likely to accelerate tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which received significant global sanctions relief after the 2015 nuclear agreement was not signed. European co-signatories to the deal criticized Trump’s decision not to re-certify the Iran deal at the time and may be unwilling to work with the administration.