WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will announce a decision about the future of an international nuclear agreement with Iran on Tuesday.
Here are four possible avenues Trump could take on the fate of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, under which Iran accepted restraints on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of U.N., European and U.S. sanctions.
Trump could claim that Iran is not living up to the deal by pointing to last week’s revelation by Israel of what it said was evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme, most of which was already known to the international community and U.N. nuclear inspectors.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is in compliance with the agreement. While senior U.S. officials acknowledge that Iran has complied with the letter of the deal, Trump points to Iran’s ballistic missile activity and regional conduct as evidence of the deal’s shortcomings.
SCENARIO 1 - TRUMP RE-ISSUES SANCTIONS WAIVERS
Trump could waive U.S. sanctions on Iran’s central bank and oil exports – as he has done every four months – while continuing talks with Germany, France and Britain on a side agreement that addresses what he sees as the deal’s flaws.
SCENARIO 2 - TRUMP DOES NOT WAIVE SANCTIONS
Trump could decide not to waive the U.S. sanctions, under which the penalties would take effect 180 days later, and leave it to European allies – who favour preserving the deal - to decide on their own course of action. In this scenario, Iran would have to decide whether it will continue to abide by the accord’s restrictions on its nuclear programme.
SCENARIO 3 - TRUMP DOESN’T WAIVE SANCTIONS, BUT COULD RECONSIDER
Trump could decide not to waive sanctions, but announce that he could restore the waivers before the penalties for violating the sanctions go back into effect if European allies reach a side agreement with the United States. Again, it would be Iran’s choice whether to continue abiding by the deal in the meantime.
SCENARIO 4 - TRUMP DOESN’T WAIVE SANCTIONS AND SAYS IRAN VIOLATING THE DEAL
Trump could announce that he will not waive the sanctions, and, citing the purported evidence revealed by Israel, claim that Iran is violating the deal.
The United States could then use a dispute resolution mechanism laid out in the JCPOA to seek a “snap-back” of U.N. sanctions on Iran.
Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Leslie Adler