Trump to continue Iran deal sanctions relief: report
President Trump is expected this week to continue sanctions relief for Iran as part of the landmark nuclear deal, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The president will cite progress being made on legislation that would heed his call to fix what he sees as problems with the deal, according to the AP, which cited six unnamed sources familiar with the administration’s deliberations.
Trump, who sources cautioned could still reject the recommendation to waive sanctions, is likely to pair his decision with new, targeted sanctions, the AP reported.
A National Security Council spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on the AP report.
Trump faces a Friday deadline over whether to continue waiving sanctions that were lifted as part of the 2015 accord between the United States, Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany.
In October, Trump refused to certify to Congress that the nuclear deal is in the U.S. national interest, a deadline that also comes up again Thursday.
In decertifying the deal in October, he also called for Congress to pass legislation to address what he sees as issues with the deal.
At the time, Trump was pessimistic about Congress’s chances.
“Phase two might be positive, and it might be very negative,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting in October. “It might be a total termination. That’s a very real possibility; some would say that’s a greater possibility. But it could also could turn out to be very positive. We’ll see what happens.”
Reuters, citing an unnamed senior administration official, reported Wednesday that Trump has been privately expressing reluctance to waive sanctions, but that some officials expect him to do so anyway.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has been working with the administration on the legislation and has touted progress that he’s made with Democrats and European allies that would address Trump’s call without violating the terms of the deal.
“We’ve gotten to a really good place; now the question is can we get there fully,” Corker told reporters Tuesday.
He also expressed hopes the progress would be enough for Trump not to toss the deal out now, but added that he “has no idea what [Trump’s] going to do.”
The State Department has said an announcement on the sanctions waivers would be made Friday.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “will be meeting with the president and [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis and other officials later this week at the White House, and we would expect a decision on Friday,” Steven Goldstein, under secretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs, told reporters Tuesday when asked about Tillerson’s recommendation.
Updated at 2:25 p.m.
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