Two senior administration officials said on Wednesday that Trump’s top advisers were recommending that he not ramose sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the agreement between Iran, the United States and other world powers.
But Trump, who has previously vowed to scrap the nuclear pact, is privately expressing reluctance to heed the advisers, the officials said.
The US Congress requires the president to decide periodically whether to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal and issue a waiver to allow US sanctions on Iran to remain suspended. The next deadline is Friday.
Trump will seek to make a final decision on the sanctions during a meeting with national security aides on Thursday, the senior officials said.
If Trump did waive the sanctions, one official said, the administration would nevertheless impose new, targeted measure on Iranian businesses and people.
A third US official said Trump was expected by some officials to renew the sanctions waivers but stressed that no final decision had been made.
Trump has gnashed his teeth at having to waive the sanctions again, believing his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama, negotiated a bad deal for the United States in agreeing to the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Hailed by Obama as key to stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb, the deal lifted economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear ambitions. It was also signed by China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union.
Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. It has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it, but will “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out, reports Reuters.
Trump in October chose not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warned he might ultimately terminate it.
He accused Iran of “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement even though the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran is in fact in compliance.