The U.S. government says it is certifying once again that Iran has complied with the 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement that President Donald Trump has called “the worst deal ever negotiated.”
Senior administration officials said Monday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will advise Congress that Iran has met the conditions of the nuclear deal, based on information the United States currently has available.
Under U.S. law, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran’s compliance with the 2015 deal.
A senior administration official said that while Iran is technically meeting the terms of the agreement, it is “unquestionably in default of the spirit of the agreement,” added that the Trump administration is working with its allies to more strictly enforce the deal going forward.
The senior official, speaking on background, said the White House believes Iran remains one of the most dangerous governments, and cited as evidence Tehran’s support for terrorism, continuing hostility to Israel, cyberattacks against the United States and numerous human-rights abuses.
“These activities seriously undermine the intent of the agreement,” the official said.
Another senior administration official said the Trump administration is working to address flaws in the agreement, of “which there are many,” and criticized enforcement of the deal by the administration of former President Barack Obama.
White House officials emphasized that the administration’s stance toward the nuclear deal remains under review.
“The president has made very clear his desire to fix the many flaws in the deal. … His commitment to fixing those flaws remains steadfast,” said one senior official.
At the White House news briefing earlier Monday, spokesman Sean Spicer said, “The president, from throughout the campaign until now, has made very clear that he thinks it’s a bad deal.”
The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed to in 2015 following negotiations between Iran, the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.
Under terms of the agreement, Iran gained relief from sanctions that had targeted its nuclear energy development program, in exchange for taking a number of steps, including affirming that it would under no circumstances “seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons.”
The agreement allows Iran to conduct only low-level uranium enrichment and requires that all spent fuel from its nuclear reactors must be sent abroad for reprocessing. These restrictions are aimed at ensuring that Iran cannot weapons-grade uranium through its own reprocessing efforts.
Iran also agreed to convert two of its nuclear sites suspected of involvement in weapons development into facilities used for peaceful research.
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