Every 90 days, President Trump is required by Congress to certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement.
Trump has certified the Obama-era deal two times since he took office, despite the fact that he has referred to the agreement as “one of the worst deals ever.”
But ahead of the next deadline, Oct. 15, Trump announced that he will not certify the deal, saying, “I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.”
So, what happens now? It’s up to Congress, and they have a few options.
They have 60 days to decide whether or not to impose new sanctions — or restore the sanctions that were lifted under the agreement.
If they make either of these moves, Iran could see it as a deal-breaker and resume the development of its nuclear program through uranium enrichment.
It would be a step closer to Iran developing a nuclear weapon, which is why the deal was made in the first place.
Congress could also urge the international community to renegotiate the terms of the deal.
While countries like Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia want to remain in the agreement because they believe Iran has kept the spirit of the accord, Trump disagrees because Iran has tested ballistic missiles and supported militant groups in several countries. Those actions weren’t covered under the accord.
This summer, Congress passed legislation that gives Trump the power to impose additional sanctions for if those kinds of acts are violated.
Congress could also do nothing at all. That means the U.S. would remain a part of the accord without violating the terms of the agreement.
While it’s up to Capitol Hill to decide the next move, uncertainty looms.
During his announcement, Trump threatened, “In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”