The Washington Post reports: Sanctions against Iran were officially extended for another decade Thursday, even though President Obama did not sign the legislation, a symbolic move intended to show the White House’s disapproval of the bill.
The sanctions renewal, which passed Congress with enough votes to be veto-proof, has triggered complaints from Tehran. The Iranian government views the nuclear agreement as entailing a promise of no new sanctions. The White House, by not signing the bill, is trying to alleviate Iran’s concerns.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the nuclear deal is still a “top strategic objective” for the United States. With or without the sanctions renewed, he said, the United States could snap sanctions back into place if Iran were to violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name for the nuclear deal. Kerry said that even though he considers it unnecessary to renew the existing waivers, he had done so anyway “to ensure maximum clarity” that the United States will meet its obligations under the deal.
He also said he had contacted Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and U.S. allies to reassure them that the United States remains committed to the deal that gave Iran sanctions relief once it pared back its nuclear program.
“As long as Iran adheres to its commitments under the JCPOA, we remain steadfastly committed to maintaining ours as well,” he said.
But with President-elect Donald Trump just five weeks away from taking office, Kerry’s guarantees may be short-lived if the new administration takes a tougher approach to Iran, as is expected. [Continue reading…]