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12 October 2017, 09:58 | Erica Roy
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani delivers a speech during the opening session of the new Parliament in Tehran in 2016.
Atta Kenare AFP Getty Images
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and several of President Trump's other senior advisers have spent the last several months coming up with a plan that takes into account Trump's anger over the Iran nuclear deal without completely killing the agreement, seven people with knowledge of the situation told The Washington Post. In a recent review of Iran's compliance of the deal, the White House found the country to have met the requirements, yet Trump insisted on scrapping the deal, stating it was no longer in the US' security interests. Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said unwinding the agreement would send a risky signal to allies and adversaries alike.
The nuclear deal was signed during Barack Obama's presidency between Iran and major world powers like the UK, France, Germany, the US, China, Russia and the European Union. North Korea's leaders, meanwhile, would have little incentive to negotiate a nuclear disarmament if they see the Iran deal collapse, he said.
Two other USA officials, who also requested anonymity, said Trump's bellicose rhetoric on a number of fronts is troubling both many of his own aides and some of America's closest allies, a few of whom have asked U.S. officials privately if Trump's real objective is attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.
European nations are looking down the road for ways to save the deal, saying that it would be hard to keep the deal in place if the U.S. withdraws.
"As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it", the California Republican said while speaking at a hearing on how to best counter threats posed by Iran.
If Congress does not act, however, it would leave the agreement in place.
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., opposed the Iran nuclear agreement in part because the deal gave Tehran access to tens of billions of dollars in previously frozen assets.
Trump has until Sunday to notify Congress whether Iran remains in compliance with the accord under which it limited its atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief.
If Trump announces the decertification of the Iran nuclear deal, Congress will reportedly have 60 days to re-impose economic sanctions against Iran that were withdrawn following the 2015 agreement.
If Trump does decertify the accord as expected, it would put him at odds with Defense Secretary James Mattis, who last week said Tehran was "fundamentally" in compliance with the agreement and that the USA should stick with the pact.
This approach could allow the USA to stay in the deal but help Trump avoid the political headache of having to re-certify it every 90 days. "That ship has sailed", according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Republican legislators recently began drawing up new versions of the law that remove the 90-day timetable and replace it with "semi-annual" certifications, according to the officials.
Drafts of two proposals seen by The Associated Press, one from Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker and one from committee member and deal critic Sen. He also wants to toughen language on ballistic missiles and inspections. "Trump's national security team, and all serious thinkers in Congress, must block the President from a failed certification before it is too late".
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