By Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
The Donald Trump administration on Monday told Congress that Iran remains compliant with the nuclear deal while building the case for a thorough renegotiation of the international accord.
The certification, which Congress mandates every 90 days, was accompanied by a new raft of non-nuclear sanctions against 18 Iranian entities and individuals. Trump administration officials also told reporters that they plan to work with US allies to toughen provisions of the accord.
“The nuclear agreement was the tail that wags the Iran policy dog,” a senior administration official said on a White House call with reporters Monday night, characterizing the deal under President Barack Obama, as the current administration sees it. “We are determined not to continue that.”
This is the second time that the State Department has certified Iran’s compliance since Trump took office. This time, the administration showed signs of unusual agitation around the rollout of the decision, including the abrupt scrapping of a midday White House conference call with reporters that eventually got rescheduled for that evening.
Asked about the canceled briefing, officials seemed plainly unsure of whether the delay indicated that the administration had been rethinking its anticipated decision to certify compliance. Even as White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at an off-camera press briefing Monday afternoon that the State Department would announce a decision “very shortly,” the agency did not have any information for reporters on the certification decision until today.