President Donald Trump's decision on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal could come on Friday, and experts say the "writing is on the wall" that the administration won't recertify the landmark agreement and he likely will turn his attention to getting European support on fixing it.
The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the country's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, briefed lawmakers during a closed session of parliament on Trump's anticipated refusal to certify Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Trump administration should preserve the deal to protect U.S. national security, even though he opposed the deal at the time. Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said unwinding the agreement would send a risky signal to allies and adversaries alike.
Trump has until Sunday to notify Congress whether Iran remains in compliance with the accord under which it limited its atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief.
In a rare case of the United Kingdom publicly pressuring the US, the British government said Wednesday that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had called Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to underscore British support for the deal.
He said Iran didn't want to see the deal unravel but that "much more is at stake for the entire global community than the national interests of Iran".
Engel said the United States would lose any leverage it has with allies in the deal if it abandons the JCPOA. North Korea's leaders, meanwhile, would have little incentive to negotiate a nuclear disarmament if they see the Iran deal collapse, he said.
Former Obama administration officials who played central roles in brokering the Iran nuclear agreement briefed congressional Democrats later Wednesday on the merits of the global accord.
A decision by Trump to decertify the deal would leave it at grave risk, with the US Congress having 60 days to decide whether to re-impose specific sanctions on Tehran that were lifted because of the diplomatic pact. Instead, these officials said that Trump is more inclined to push legislators to amend the law that requires the president to certify Iran's compliance every 90 days.
Officials familiar with the internal deliberations as well as informed sources outside the administration say that they do not believe Trump will call for Congress to reinstate the sanctions.
Trump is expected to announce an "overall Iran strategy", including whether to decertify the worldwide deal curbing Tehran's nuclear programme ahead of an October 15 deadline.
Drafts of two proposals seen by The Associated Press, one from Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker and one from committee member and deal critic Sen. "It is these security implications that we continue to encourage the U.S.to consider".