President Trump has until 13 January 2018 to decide whether to certify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear agreement) and whether to waive sanctions on Iran. The President must determine those issues every 90 and 120 days, respectively. The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, stated last week that, in the event waivers are extended, more non-nuclear US sanctions would be coming; he cited the recent OFAC designations in respect of Iran’s ballistic missile programme as an example (see previous blog here). The UK government has re-indicated its support for the JCPOA.
On the previous JCPOA certification date (13 October 2017), President Trump refused to certify the accord on the basis that Iran had violated the “spirit” of the deal (see previous blog here). As a result, it fell to the US Congress to decide (within 60 days) whether it would pass new legislation to address the President’s concerns over the nuclear deal, or to reimpose sanctions against Iran. Congress did not take any action (see previous blog here). President Trump had previously certified the nuclear deal in April and July 2017, and continued to waiver sanctions on Iran in September 2017.