Analysis: Sanctions Waivers Reissued

Today the Trump Administration reissued a waiver of U.S. sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program, extending the suspension of such sanctions in accordance with American obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  

Under the terms of the JCPOA, the agreement signed by Iran and the P5+1 that blocks Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, the United States committed to waive nuclear program-related sanctions on Iran as long as Iran remains in compliance with the terms of the agreement.  The extension of the waiver is a clear sign that the new administration recognizes that Iran is complying with its end of the agreement.

The waiver of sanctions follows the Administration’s certification to Congress in April that Iran is complying with the deal.  That certification was required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.  Under its terms, every 90 days the President must certify to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the agreement.

Together these actions demonstrate clearly that the new Administration recognizes there is no basis for abrogating the deal despite threats during the Presidential campaign by both the President and Vice President to dismantle the agreement.

While this is good news for the deal and global security, concerns remain about the Administration’s intentions as it conducts an interagency review of the JCPOA, as well as over the potential for Congressional action that might affect U.S. compliance with the agreement.  Multiple bills are being considered right now by Congress that could affect the American compliance with the letter and spirit of the deal, including the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 (S.722).

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