Trump could kill the Iran nuclear deal in January


Politico is reporting that by mid-January Trump may end the Iran nuke deal.

Come mid-January, Trump faces new legal deadlines to choose whether to hit Iran with U.S. sanctions.  According to Politico, senior lawmakers and some of Trump’s top national security officials are trying to preserve the agreement. But the deal’s backers fear Trump will reject their advise and move forward with his campaign promise of ending the deal put in place by Obama.

When Trump last publicly addressed the status of the Iran agreement, in mid-October, he indicated his patience had worn thin with what he has called “the worst deal ever,” and demanded that Congress and European countries take action to address what he considers the deal’s weakness.

In an effort to save the deal, members of Congress are discussing legislation that would give Trump political cover to extend the deal. But it’s not clear whether Republicans and Democrats can agree on even a symbolic measure in time.

The deal was negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration, along with five other nations. It lifted U.S. and European sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear program. The deal’s supporters say military action was the only realistic alternative to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Critics say the deal allowed Iran to retain too much nuclear capability and that the sanctions should have been given more time to bite.

The deadlines for Trump begin on Jan. 11, when the agreement requires him — as it does every 90 days — to certify whether Tehran is meeting its obligations under the deal. International inspectors who visit the country’s nuclear facilities have repeatedly said Iran is doing so. But Trump refused to certify Iranian compliance in mid-October, citing in part Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East.

Trump’s refusal to certify had no immediate practical effect on the deal, though under the law it triggered a 60-day window for Congress to restore the sanctions by a simple majority, without the possibility of a Senate filibuster.

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