Congress lets deadline pass on Iran nuclear deal, leaves sanctions up to Trump

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Dec. 13, 2017 at 12:21 PM
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Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A deadline for Congress to act to change the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement passed Tuesday without any action, indicating there will be no new sanctions against Tehran -- at least for now.

President Donald Trump said in October the United States would not certify Iranian compliance with the deal. That triggered a 60-day time frame for Congress to examine the pact and take action.

By letting the deadline pass, lawmakers will now wait for Trump's mandated opportunity to comment on the agreement's future. White House aides say Trump is angered by Congress' lack of progress, and could pull the United States out of the agreement by Jan. 13.

In October, Trump called on Congress and parties to the deal -- formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- to reduce what he calls the agreement's "serious flaws." None of the signatories, including China and Russia, have expressed a desire to change anything.

The agreement confines Iran's nuclear activity to the laboratory in exchange for lifted sanctions against Tehran.

The White House said Tuesday it did not expect Congress to act, and added that the administration is still working with Congress on a longer-term adjustment of the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned European countries "against wavering on issues beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement and following in lockstep behind the White House."

"As the nuclear deal and the Middle East enter uncharted and potentially combustible territory, it is imperative that Europe helps ensure that we don't soon find ourselves repeating history," he said.

While running for president, Trump vowed to pull out of the agreement, which he has repeatedly called a bad deal.

Iran remains one of only four countries on the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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