Trump expected to waive Iran sanctions

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The decision is set against a week of anti-establishment demonstrations in Iran that the country's security force said it had quashed on Sunday after arresting the last of the protests organizers. In October, in a measure required every 90 days under US law, Trump declined to certify that the agreement was in USA national security interests.

Officials had said that despite the recommendation of his entire national security staff, they weren't sure which way Trump would go.

Trump has until Friday to make the decision, which would either continue the Obama-era suspensions or re-impose sanctions on Iran's central bank, the AP reported. Trump has sharply criticized the deal, in part, because it doesn't limit Iranian development of ballistic missiles and support for militant groups in the Middle East. However, their proposed fixes are very minor and do not address the agreement's principal flaws: allowing Iran to enrich uranium, giving Iran a plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor, and extremely weak verification.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump was keeping his "options open" as he contemplated the decision. The report added that Bahram Qasemi, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said that Tehran had already planned a "heavy response" for any action the U.S. takes against the continued implementation of the JCPOA. Xinhua News Agency added that Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, had warned of a response that would be "rapid" and a "surprise" to the United States.

Iran hawks in Congress and elsewhere worry the changes being discussed don't strengthen the nuclear deal enough. No doubt this view is reinforced by the IAEA's determinations that Iran has been maintaining the agreed-upon restrictions, although many critics of the deal have responded to such claims by highlighting nuclear inspectors' lack of access to Iranian military sites.

"Trump is unpredictable, but I guess you have to guess that he will do what he did last time, which was to send the problem to Congress", Steinberg said. US sanctions also target the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, the elite military force that is active in regional hot spots, including Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

'I don't want to suggest we're across the finish line on anything yet, ' he added.

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"The secretary has been at the White House nearly every day".

Trump's decision was expected to be made at a Thursday meeting, Xinhua quoted US State Department spokesperson Stephen Goldstein as saying. 'He's going to keep every option on the table'.

Vice President Mike Pence meanwhile said Trump's administration would stand with the protesters in 'their hour of need'.

The White House said Trump had "underscored that Iran must stop its destabilizing activity in the region".

French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump on Thursday and stressed France s determination to see "the strict application of the deal and the importance of all the signatories to respect it". This time, we will not be silent'.

Laura Holgate, former US representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations agency conducting nuclear inspections in Iran, said a unilateral White House decision to abrogate the deal would hurt global efforts to negotiate a solution to the nuclear impasse with North Korea.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez wrote Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking that the federal government to do more to assure US tech companies that they would not be violating USA sanctions if they provide workarounds for protesters to use online platforms that the Iranian government has censored. Trump was apparently compelled by his national security team to sign off on that certification when he faced the first two deadlines as president.

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