President Trump announced Friday that he will extend waivers for Iran nuclear sanctions, keeping alive the landmark Obama-era deal for at least another few months — but said this is the “last chance” to fix the pact before the U.S. withdraws.
In a stern statement, Trump said he’s waiving the sanctions to secure European allies’ agreement to address the “terrible flaws” in the 2015 deal negotiated by his predecessor.
“Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw,” Trump said.
“This is a last chance,” Trump warned. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”
He added, “No one should doubt my word.”
White House officials said Friday that the waivers would be the “last” signed by the president. In addition to the waivers, the Treasury Department rolled out more targeted sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses.
The Trump administration’s proposal to revise the 2015 deal is likely to be met with resistance from European nations.
Foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels this week and decided they want to “protect” the deal against any decisions that could undermine it.
Trump’s demands include: immediate inspections at sites by international inspectors, ensuring Iran “never even comes close” to possessing a nuclear weapon and denying Iran paths to nuclear weapons forever (not 10 years like under current law).
White House officials said Friday that if the president can deny Iran a path to nuclear weapons “forever,” Trump would be “open to remaining in such a modified deal.”
“This would not entail direct negotiations with the Iranians, but would be something the U.S. works out with European partners only,” a White House official said Friday.
Trump called on European countries to join the U.S. in fixing the deal’s “significant flaws,” but warned that if other nations fail to act, he would “terminate” the deal.
“Those who, for whatever reason, choose not to work with us will be siding with the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, and against the people of Iran and the peaceful nations of the world,” Trump said.