Former president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has survived one more time, as the Trump administration announced Friday that President Trump has once again waived sanctions against Iran; extending the agreement that he has long maintained as a “bad deal” that should be cancelled.
However, Trump has said this is the last time the deal will be extended. Reportedly, he has only granted the extension in order to allow Congress time to work on legislation to alter the agreement. In addition, the Trump administration will be drumming up support from other nations to put more pressure on Iran.
The president’s decision was reportedly based on advice from his top national security and foreign policy advisers, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Several U.S. allies, including the president of France, also encouraged Trump to extend the agreement.
In another twist to the extension, Trump reportedly also added new sanctions against 14 Iranian entities and individuals “that commit human rights abuses or support the country’s ballistic missile programs, which are outside the scope of the nuclear deal. Many of those sanctions — including one targeted at the head of Iran’s judiciary — were in response to the Iranian government’s crackdown of peaceful protests that have swept the country in recent weeks.”
On Thursday, ahead of Trump’s decision, European nations jointly implored the United States to keep the deal in tact.
“The accord is essential and there is no alternative,” France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, told reporters. “We do not hide the other points of disagreement (with Iran) that exist.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged last week that Congress would not be ready to present Trump with legislation before this week’s waiver deadlines. There is little evidence that the Senate’s legislative effort has advanced much beyond a framework Corker released in October.
That plan sought to make the nuclear deal essentially permanent, a proposal that upends the accord the Obama administration negotiated. Iran has dismissed that option, saying it violates the agreement, and the proposal remains a tough sell for Democrats and European allies.
Corker’s plan reflects a new strategy outlined by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October. It would create red lines that, if crossed by Iran, would automatically restore sanctions.
It was recently revealed that former President Obama allowed the terror group, Hezbollah, to grow and expand, refusing to allow the Project Cassandra investigative team to prosecute, in deference of Iran, so as not to disrupt the nuclear agreement he had made with the country.
Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team to go after the the terror group and investigate charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) January 12, 2018
.@realDonaldTrump sticks with Iran deal waiving nuclear deal 1 more time but imposing new sanctions on a sr Iranian leader and entities for human rights abuses and missiles
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) January 12, 2018
BREAKING: Donald Trump keeps Iran nuclear deal alive by waiving economic sanctions.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) January 12, 2018
BREAKING: President Trump will extend sanctions relief for Iran, keeping the Obama-era nuclear deal alive — for now https://t.co/KmOTKOgmWQ
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 12, 2018