WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is “very likely” to state that Iran is adhering to its nuclear agreement although he continues to have reservations about it, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
Under U.S. law, the State Department must notify Congress every 90 days of Iran’s compliance with the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump has a congressionally mandated deadline of Monday to decide.
The landmark 2015 deal struck with Iran by the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany is aimed at preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon by imposing time-limited restrictions and strict international monitoring on its nuclear programme. In return, Tehran won relief from punishing international economic sanctions.
If Trump does state Iran is in compliance, it would be his second time since taking office in January to do so despite his promise during the 2016 campaign to “rip up” what he called “the worst deal ever.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump could always change his mind.
Iran denies seeking nuclear arms. However, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded in December 2015 that Iran worked on the design of a missile-borne nuclear warhead until 2009.
While lifting nuclear-linked sanctions, the United States maintains sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile programme, human rights record and what Washington charges is its support for international terrorism.
Reporting By Steve Holland; Writing by Steve Holland and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Cynthia Osterman